Reading List: The Intellectual Edition

Illustration for article titled Reading List: The Intellectual Edition

Here are a few titles for those looking to water their intellectual growth.

Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton

By Duchess Harris

Palgrave Macmillan, July 2009

A scholarly review of the involvement of black women in American politics from 1961 to 2001 that includes a range of areas including government roles, feminist organizations, literature, movies, and beauty pageants.


Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

By Robin D.G. Kelley

Simon and Schuster, October 2009

This long-awaited biography from Kelley, historian and music aficionado, draws from Monk's family archives and unreleased recordings to painstakingly capture the jazz composer and pianist's person, spirit, and often unrecognized genius. Kelly debunks the myths that surrounded Monk during his life and in his death, provides explanations for Monk's sometimes erratic behavior—which was partly due to untreated mental illness—and examines the artist’s contributions to the growth of jazz.

Read an excerpt of Thelonious Monk. Below, watch Robin Kelley discuss his motivations for writing the book.


Speech : Race and Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union"

Edited by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

Bloomsbury USA, August 2009

Using President Obama's "A More Perfect Union," his popular 2008 speech on race, a diverse cross-section of intellectuals riff on the historical, political, and social impact of the highly-praised address. Read an excerpt of Speech posted on The Root.

Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud

By Cornel West with David Ritz

Hay House, October 2009

With the help of an accomplished biographer, one of America's most well-known public intellectuals has penned his memoirs in efforts to probe what he considers, the "dark precincts" of his soul. West gets personal revisiting his schoolboy days, his growth into a flawed man and celebrated scholar, his battle with cancer, and provides introspection into his own human condition.

Check out:

Robin Kelley talks about his motivation to write Thelonious Monk.

is a writer, speaker, author of books for adults and youth, and the book columnist for The Root. Her most recent book is \"The Message: 100 Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs.\" Visit her at

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