Thursday, October 04, 2007

Justice Clarence Thomas's Autobiography

I got Clarence Thomas's new autobiography, My Grandfather's Son, in the mail yesterday afternoon, and read it before I went to bed. Much of the book is a powerfully moving description of growing up in dire poverty in the segregated South. I've read a lot of memoirs or autobiographies of people who grew up under segregation, and this is probably the best one I've ever come across.

Thomas writes of the haunting loneliness of being an outcast in the white world when he was the only black student in a white high school -- and of the realization that he was now an outcast back in the black neighborhoods as well (people assumed that he thought he was better than everyone else when he went off to a white school). Thomas also writes with nearly unbearable poignancy of his love for his grandfather (who raised him), the clashes between them that began when the grandfather was disappointed that Thomas dropped out of seminary, and of Thomas's painful regret when his grandfather suddenly died.

It's well, well worth reading.


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