Category Archives: Biographies

New books featuring autobiographies, memoirs, and biographies

2pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap’s Greatest Battle by Jeff Weiss and Evan McGarvey

Hip hop icons and rap innovators, the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur continue to influence, define, and change the genre years after their deaths. Despite the controversies surrounding the murders of Tupac and Biggie, ultimately it’s their art that remains their biggest legacy. The music of Biggie Smalls and 2Pac has inspired the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and more. The legacies of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace — a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. — live on.

So does their rivalry, one of the greatest in music history. In 2pac vs. Biggie, hip hop experts Jeff Weiss and Evan McGarvey take an entirely new approach to investigation of that rivalry. Rather than focus on the countless conspiracy theories, they study the artist as artists, dissecting the lyrics of their hits (“California Love,” “All Eyez on Me,” “Changes” for 2pac, “Mo Money Mo Problems,” “Hypnotize,” “Big Poppa” for Biggie) and lesser-known works, performance and rhythmic styles, aesthetic appearances and what those meant, rises to power, and of course, their lives after death. The feud between 2pac and Biggie is broken down and looked at from all new angles, bringing to light little-known and surprising sides to each rapper’s persona and inner world.

Illustrated throughout with photographs, memorabilia, and artwork inspired by Tupac and Biggie, and with insert “versus” pages dissecting topics such as each artist’s presence in movies, critical reception, and literary influences, this book is a must-have for all rap and hip hop fans.

Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

“You have to bear in mind that [Questlove] is one of the smartest mother****ers on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless.” –Robert Christgau

Mo’ Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone’s Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences–from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo’ Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D’Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to…you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!?

But Mo’ Meta Blues isn’t just a memoir. It’s a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It’s a book that questions what a book like Mo’ Meta Blues really is. It’s the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.

It’s a rare gift that gives as well as takes.

It’s a record that keeps going around and around.

Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Grand Central Publishing
June 18, 2013
Hardcover

Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora by Emily Raboteau



Audiobook:
A decade in the making, Emily Raboteau‘s Searching for Zion takes readers around the world on an unexpected adventure of faith. Both one woman’s quest for a place to call “home” and an investigation into a people’s search for the Promised Land, this landmark work of creative nonfiction is a trenchant inquiry into contemporary and historical ethnic displacement.

At the age of twenty-three, award-winning writer Emily Raboteau traveled to Israel to visit her childhood best friend. While her friend appeared to have found a place to belong, Raboteau could not yet say the same for herself. As a biracial woman from a country still divided along racial lines, she’d never felt at home in America. But as a reggae fan and the daughter of a historian of African-American religion, Raboteau knew of “Zion” as a place black people yearned to be. She’d heard about it on Bob Marley’s Exodus and in the speeches of Martin Luther King. She understood it as a metaphor for freedom, a spiritual realm rather than a geographical one. Now in Israel, the Jewish Zion, she was surprised to discover black Jews. More surprising was the story of how they got there. Inspired by their exodus, Raboteau sought out other black communities that left home in search of a Promised Land. Her question for them is same she asks herself: have you found the home you’re looking for?

On her ten-year journey back in time and around the globe, through the Bush years and into the age of Obama, Raboteau wanders to Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana, and the American South to explore the complex and contradictory perspectives of Black Zionists. She talks to Rastafarians and African Hebrew Israelites, Evangelicals and Ethiopian Jews, and Katrina transplants from her own family — people that have risked everything in search of territory that is hard to define and harder to inhabit. Uniting memoir with historical and cultural investigation, Raboteau overturns our ideas of place and patriotism, displacement and dispossession, citizenship and country in a disarmingly honest and refreshingly brave take on the pull of the story of Exodus.

Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora
Emily Raboteau
Atlantic Monthly Press
January 8, 2013
Hardcover

Believe: The Victorious Story of Eric LeGrand by Eric LeGrand

Young Readers’ Edition:

The inspirational story of Eric LeGrand . . . also adapted for young readers!

On October 16, 2010, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was known as a key performer on the field and a much-loved teammate who could make anyone smile. But in the heated fourth quarter of a tie game against Army, everything changed in a moment. A crushing tackle left him motionless on the field, and while the entire stadium went silent with fear and anticipation, Eric knew his life would never again be the same.

What he didn’t know, however, was that the months to come would be a remarkable, transformative journey: one so profound that he would call the year following the accident that paralyzed him from the neck down the best year of his life.

In this uplifting memoir, now adapted for young readers, Eric tells the amazing story of how he rebuilds his life, continues his college education, and pursues a career in sports broadcasting. His belief in a grand plan and his hope for the future make him a model for anyone who has experienced tragedy or faced obstacles.

Beyonce by Andrew Vaughan

Beyoncé is one of the world’s biggest pop stars–and this lavishly illustrated book is the first to celebrate the talented singer, songwriter, producer, and actress in the glam style she deserves! Since rising to fame with the R&B group Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé Knowles has enjoyed success after success, starting with her debut solo album, the multiplatinum, Grammy®-award winning Dangerously in Love. Beyoncé follows the artist’s life (including her marriage to hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and the birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy) and career, her wildly popular music, videos, and movies, and her role as a fashion icon.

Sapp Attack: My Story by Warren Sapp and David Fisher

In his no-holds-barred memoir, Sapp Attack!, Warren Sapp, one of the NFL’s most hilarious and candid personalities, reveals a side of football most fans have never before seen.

Big Man. Big Talent. Big Star. Big Mouth. Big Heart. Big Personality. Big Smile. Big Headlines. Warren Sapp, one of pro football’s most dominating defensive players both on and off the field, has a reputation for being bold, brash, knowledgeable, and outspoken. During his All-American career at the University of Miami, 13 seasons as an NFL star, four years on the NFL Network and one very big season on Dancing with the Stars, Sapp has never held back. Now he brings that same fearless attitude to his memoir, a book that will create controversy and headlines; in other words, pure Warren Sapp.

Sapp has won every award possible for a defensive player, but it wasn’t just his extraordinarily athletic ability that made him a star; it was also his ability to understand the subtleties of the game. He writes about working his way up from the high school gridiron to one of the top college football programs in the country, to the NFL, and reveals how the system actually works — the behind-the-scenes plays that fans rarely get to see.

He’ll discuss what it was like to face some of the greatest players in NFL history, including Hall of Famers Steve Young and Jerry Rice, both of whom he put out of the game, and Bret Favre, whom he sacked eleven times during his career.

In this revealing, hilarious, and must-read book, Sapp offers readers a look inside the life of one of football’s biggest stars and shares his often controversial opinions about the state of pro football today and its future.

Sapp Attack: My Story Warren Sapp Thomas Dunne Books August 21, 2012 Hardcover

Finally Free by Michael Vick

One of the most talented and polarizing athletes of our generation, Michael Vick’s stunning story has captured news headlines across the nation. From his poverty-stricken youth, to his success on the field in high school and college, to his rise to NFL stardom and his fall from grace, Finally Free shows how a gifted athlete’s life spiraled out of control under the glare of money and fame, aided by his own poor choices. In his own words, Vick details his regrets, his search for forgiveness, the moments of unlikely grace–and the brokenness that brought his redemption on the way to his celebrated return to the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Finally Free
Michael Vick, Forward by Tony Dungy
Worthy Publishing
Available September 4, 2012 in Hardcover

A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade, the eight-time All-Star for the Miami Heat, has miraculously defied the odds throughout his career and his life. In 2006, in just his third season in the NBA, Dwyane was named the Finals’ MVP, after leading the Miami Heat to the Championship title, basketball’s ultimate prize. Two years later, after possible career-ending injuries, he again rose from the ashes of doubt to help win a gold medal for the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As co-captain, he helped lead the Heat to triumph in the 2012 NBA Championship. Little wonder that legendary coach Pat Riley has called Dwyane “B.I.W.” — ”Best In the World.”

As incredible as those achievements have been, it’s off the court where Dwyane has sought his most cherished goal: being a good dad to his sons, Zaire and Zion, by playing a meaningful role in their lives. Recounting his fatherhood journey, Dwyane begins his story in March 2011 with the news that after a long, bitter custody battle, he has been awarded sole custody of his sons in a virtually unprecedented court decision. A Father First chronicles the lessons Dwyane has learned as a single dad from the moment of the judge’s ruling that instantly changed his life and the lives of his boys, and then back to the events in the past that shaped his dreams, prayers, and promises.

As the son of divorced parents determined to get along so that he and his sister Tragil could have loving relationships with both of them, Dwyane’s early years were spent on Chicago’s South Side. With poverty, violence, and drugs consuming the streets and their mom descending into addiction, Tragil made the heroic decision to take her younger brother to live with their father. After moving his household to suburban Robbins, Illinois, Dwyane Wade Sr. became Dwyane’s first basketball coach. While this period laid the groundwork for Dwyane’s later mission for fathers to take greater responsibility for their kids, he was also inspired by his mother’s miraculous victory over addiction and her gift for healing others. Both his mother and his father showed him that the unconditional love between parents and children is a powerful guiding force.

In A Father First, we meet the coaches, mentors, and teammates who played pivotal roles in Dwyane’s stunning basketball career — from his early days shooting hoops on the neighborhood courts in Chicago, to his rising stardom at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to his emergence as an unheralded draft pick by the Miami Heat. This book is a revealing, personal story of one of America’s top athletes, but it is also a call to action — from a man who had to fight to be in his children’s lives — that will show mothers and fathers how to step up and be parents themselves.

A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball
Dwyane Wade
William Morrow
Available September 4, 2012 in Hardcover

Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story by Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean is one of the most influential voices in hip-hop. He rocketed to fame in the 1990s with the Fugees, whose multiplatinum album, The Score, would prove a landmark in music history, winning two Grammys and going on to become one of the bestselling hip-hop albums of all time. In Purpose, Wyclef recounts his path to fame from his impoverished childhood in “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s Haiti and the mean streets of Brooklyn and Newark to the bright lights of the world stage.

The son of a pastor and grandson of a Vodou priest, Wyclef was born and raised in the slums of Haiti, moving with his family to New York when he was nine. He lived in Brooklyn’s notorious Marlboro projects until his father, Gesner Jean, took them to Newark, where he converted a burnt-out funeral home into a house for his family and a church for his congregation. But life in New Jersey was no easier for Wyclef, who found it hard to shake his refugee status. Forced to act as a literal and cultural translator for his parents while still trying to master English himself, Wyclef soon learned that fitting in would be a constant struggle. He made his way by competing in “freestyle” rap battles, eventually becoming the best MC in his school. At the same time, Wyclef was singing in his father’s choir and learning multiple instruments while also avidly exploring funk, rock, reggae, and jazz — an experience that would forever shape his sound. When Wyclef chose to pursue a career in music over attending theological school, Gesner, who hated rap, nearly disowned him, creating a gulf between father and son that would take nearly a decade to bridge.

Within a few short years, Wyclef would catapult to international renown with the Fugees. In Purpose he details for the first time ever the inside story of the group: their rise and fall, and his relationships with Pras and Lauryn Hill.

Wyclef also looks back with candor at the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 and his efforts to help rebuild his homeland, including the controversy surrounding YÉle, his aid organization, and his exploratory bid for president of the island nation. The story revealed in Purpose is one of inspiration, full of drama and humor, told in compelling detail, about the incredible life of one of our most revered musical icons.

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo — a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East — until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

When is Strong, Strong Enough? by Souraya Christine

When is Strong Strong Enough gives a riveting account of the life events of author, Souraya Christine. It details Souraya’s bad decisions, wild ways, and subsequent recklessness as she learned to cope with her tragedies, process pain, and ultimately forgive and love herself. She is still a work in progress, but as a recently baptized Christian, she is slowly learning to trust again and to extend her new found love to others, offering lessons in strength in every chapter. This is a gripping true story that will have you on an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end!

NCM Publishing
Available June 5, 2012 in Paperback

Tales of an Original Bad Girl by Mack Mama

Tales of an Original Bad Girl (revised edition)

Mack Mama has defied all odds and after being counted out by many she rises from the ashes of defeat. She served a total of 13 years in prison and after her last stint, she chose to concentrate on her music and literary talents. Her debut novel happens to be the story of her tumultuous life.

Make no mistake, I wrote my memoir not to glorify my lifestyle, but to save the children that are going down the wrong path. Hopefully they will say “If Mack Mama can change, so can I

 Born addicted to heroin, and taught to shoplift by watching her mother steal to support her habit, Mack Mama was destined for destruction. When her mother died from the AIDS virus, Mack spiraled out of control. She was bitter, and disgruntled, using her mother’ death as an excuse to destroy her life. She became very vicious, and treacherous, as she adapted to the grimy streets of Brooklyn in the 80’s. Drugs, violence, and sex, was the norm. Mack Mama partakes in it all. As she searches for her sanity, she purges her soul in this shockingly honest memoir.

Mack Mama was well known for being a hustler, and lived a lavish lifestyle, but after various bids in prison she realizes that she wasn’t beating the system. She, was getting beat and wasting her life behind bars. She suffered from domestic abuse from her spouse, who was nine years her senior, and inevitably became the abuser in her relationships with women. Her last prison stint changed her life and started her on her road to redemption. TALES OF AN ORIGINAL BAD GIRL is indeed a page-turner and a revelation, about the author’s wild life. She describes her life honestly, and with raw detail, taking the reader into the story as witness to the insanity of urban life in the underworld of Brooklyn, New York

The Longest Fight: In the Ring with Joe Gans, Boxing’s First African American Champion by William Gildea

Many people came to Goldfield, Nevada, America’s last gold-rush town, to seek their fortune. However, on a searing summer day in September 1906, they came not to strike it rich but to watch what would become the longest boxing match of the twentieth century — between Joe Gans, the first African American boxing champion, and “Battling” Nelson, a vicious and dirty brawler. It was a match billed as the battle of the races.

In The Longest Fight, the longtime Washington Post sports correspondent William Gildea tells the story of this epic match, which would stretch to forty-two rounds and last two hours and forty-eight minutes. A new rail line brought spectators from around the country, dozens of reporters came to file blow-by-blow accounts, and an entrepreneurial crew’s film of the fight, shown in theaters shortly afterward, endures to this day.

The Longest Fight also recounts something much greater — the longer battle that Gans fought against prejudice as the premier black athlete of his time. It is a portrait of life in black America at the turn of the twentieth century, of what it was like to be the first black athlete to successfully cross the nation’s gaping racial divide. Gans was smart, witty, trim, and handsome — with one-punch knockout power and groundbreaking defensive skills — and his courage despite discrimination prefigured the strife faced by many of America’s finest athletes, including Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, and Muhammad Ali.

Inside the ring and out, Gans took the first steps for the African American athletes who would follow, and yet his role in history was largely forgotten until now. The Longest Fight is a reminder of the damage caused by the bigotry that long outlived Gans, and the strength, courage, and will of those who fought to rise above.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
June 19, 2012
Hardcover

Twice Tested by Fire: A Memoir of Faith and Service by Cecil Murray

The fellowship of Christians generally and the Black Church specifically have an obligation beyond the walls of the sanctuary. Our endangered communities are lost unless the churches in their midst help to provision the journey toward a new life. Personal salvation must be of a piece with social salvation…for only then is the Word made flesh.

One day in the early 1950s, when Cecil Chip Murray was a young officer stationed at Oxnard Air Force Base in California, the warplane he was in caught fire after an aborted takeoff attempt. Murray tried to escape, but the glass canopy over his head failed to open. As flames began to consume the plane s nosecone, he heard a clear, steady voice guiding him to disentangle himself from his equipment and squeeze through a tiny hatch in the rear of the plane.

Four decades later, that same voice which had led him from the military to the pulpit of one of the most vibrant congregations in Los Angeles sent him into the streets as a prophet and peacemaker during six days of burning, rioting and looting that marked one of the most destructive episodes of urban violence in U.S. history. Twice Tested By Fire is Rev. Murray’s chronicle of the inspiration as well as the challenges that shaped a ministry widely credited with helping to heal a fractured metropolis. His insights into the legacy of the Civil Rights era, faith-based community organizing and socially engaged Christianity provide timely instruction to a new generation rising to the task of ensuring that the American dream of equality and justice for all is not forgotten.

Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change by John Lewis

How can we go about achieving lasting social and political change? How much war must we visit upon ourselves before we recognize that war does not work?

As the last living leader of the Civil Rights Movement and an American hero to many, Congressman John Lewis continues to work toward building a better world. He was a key player in the struggle to end segregation; a campaigner and friend to presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy until his assassination; a confidant to Martin Luther King Jr., whose vision and efforts Lewis carried on to subsequent generations; one of the thirteen original Freedom Riders; and an eyewitness to many momentous occasions in American history over the last fifty years of working in public service.

Despite being rejected, hated, and jailed-and even after being witness to betrayal, corruption, and conspiracy-Congressman Lewis believes that the people can work together toward lasting social change and asserts that worldwide change can be achieved through nonviolent means. In his inspirational new book, Congressman Lewis shares his life story-the lessons he learned as one who dreamed, worked, and struggled in America’s last revolution-and describes the work he believes is necessary to move this country forward. He declares that to revolutionize society, we must first revolutionize ourselves, and if we want to demand transformation of others, we must first be the change we seek. Social evolution starts from within, Lewis says.

Each chapter of ACROSS THAT BRIDGE discusses one virtue-faith, patience, truth, love, peace, study, and reconciliation-that, when combined with all the others, comprises Lewis’s philosophy of life. By sharing personal stories that focus on political and social events throughout history, Lewis discusses the moments where he came to understand the power of those virtues and reflects on the moments that challenged his commitment to them as well.

ACROSS THAT BRIDGE reflects the values of patience with persistence, progressive faith, and principled behavior that can lead to individual and collective transformation. It is this kind of persistence, faith, and moral authority that can bring about what Lewis calls “creative disruption” and usher in a nonviolent revolution of values bringing about fundamental social change.

“Democracy is not a state; it is an act. It is a series of actions we all must take to help build a Beloved Community.”
-Congressman John Lewis

When is Strong, Strong Enough? by Souraya Christine



When is Strong Strong Enough gives a riveting account of the life events of author, Souraya Christine. It details Souraya’s bad decisions, wild ways, and subsequent recklessness as she learned to cope with her tragedies, process pain, and ultimately forgive and love herself. She is still a work in progress, but as a recently baptized Christian, she is slowly learning to trust again and to extend her new found love to others, offering lessons in strength in every chapter. This is a gripping true story that will have you on an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end!

NCM Publishing
June 5, 2012
Paperback

The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by RJ Smith

The definitive biography of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, with fascinating findings on his life as a Civil Rights activist, an entrepreneur, and the most innovative musician of our time

Playing 350 shows a year at his peak, with more than forty Billboard hits, James Brown was a dazzling showman who transformed American music. His life offstage was just as vibrant, and until now no biographer has delivered a complete profile. The One draws on interviews with more than 100 people who knew Brown personally or played with him professionally. Using these sources, award-winning writer RJ Smith draws a portrait of a man whose twisted and amazing life helps us to understand the music he made.

The One delves deeply into the story of a man who was raised in abject-almost medieval-poverty in the segregated South but grew up to earn (and lose) several fortunes. Covering everything from Brown’s unconventional childhood (his aunt ran a bordello), to his role in the Black Power movement, which used “Say It Loud (I’m Black and Proud)” as its anthem, to his high-profile friendships, to his complicated family life, Smith’s meticulous research and sparkling prose blend biography with a cultural history of a pivotal era.

At the heart of The One is Brown’s musical genius. He had crucial influence as an artist during at least three decades; he inspires pity, awe, and revulsion. As Smith traces the legend’s reinvention of funk, soul, R&B, and pop, he gives this history a melody all its own.

Gotham
March 15, 2012
Hardcover

I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down by Jennifer Hudson

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Hardcover:
A personal and inspirational memoir from Grammy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, focused on her amazing transformation as she embraced a healthy lifestyle and lost over eighty pounds.

Soulful and sultry, Jennifer Hudson wowed the world with her powerful voice in American Idol‘s third season, and then took Hollywood by storm with a star turn in Dreamgirls that won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But before we knew her as an American Idol standout, Jennifer was singing in her church choir in the Southside of Chicago. This uplifting memoir tells the story of Jennifer’s meteoric rise from American Idol to Dreamgirls to her amazing weight loss on the megablockbuster Weight Watchers diet plan. With the Weight Watchers brand endorsing her, Jennifer gives her fans tips for embracing a healthy lifestyle in order to lose weight and reclaim their bodies. Full of stories from her American Idol days, her experience acting in Dreamgirls, and how her son inspired her to want to live healthfully, this book is a gift for her millions of fans and an inspiration for anyone struggling with weight issues.

Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi

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Hardcover:


Audio CD:
When Meb Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon in 2009 — the first American to do so in 27 years — some critics questioned whether the Eritrean-born runner was “really” an American despite his citizenship status and representing the USA on two Olympic and several World Championship teams. Yet Meb is the living embodiment of the American dream. His family came to the U.S. to escape from a life of poverty and a violent war with Ethiopia; Meb was 12 at the time, spoke no English, and had never raced a mile. Yet he became an A student and a high school state and national champion. And when he stood on the platform as a silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics, Meb knew his hard work and determination had paid off. How could life be any better?

Then it all came crashing down. Meb, a favorite for the Beijing Olympics, fractured his pelvis during the trials and was left literally crawling. His close friend and fellow marathoner suffered a cardiac arrest at the trials and died that same day. Devastated, Meb was about to learn whether his faith in God, the values his parents had taught him, and his belief that he was born to run were enough to see him through.

Run to Overcome tells the inspirational story of a man who discovered the real meaning of victory, and who embodies the American spirit of overcoming the odds.

Run to Overcome: : The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream
by Meb Keflezighi, Joan Benoit Samuelson (Foreword), Dick Patrick (Contributor)

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
October 25, 2010

Killing the Messenger by Thomas Peele

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Kindle:
When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007 — the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years — the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police. A strong soldier for whom?

Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narrative nonfiction that explores one of the most blatant attacks on the First Amendment and free speech in American history and the small Black Muslim cult that carried it out. Award-winning investigative reporter Thomas Peele examines the Black Muslim movement from its founding in the early twentieth century by a con man who claimed to be God, to the height of power of the movement’s leading figure, Elijah Muhammad, to how the great-grandson of Texas slaves reinvented himself as a Muslim leader in Oakland and built the violent cult that the young gunman eventually joined. Peele delves into how charlatans exploited poor African Americans with tales from a religion they falsely claimed was Islam and the years of bloodshed that followed, from a human sacrifice in Detroit to police shootings of unarmed Muslims to the horrible backlash of racism known as the “zebra murders,” and finally to the brazen killing of Chauncey Bailey to stop him from publishing a newspaper story.

Peele establishes direct lines between the violent Black Muslim organization run by Yusuf Bey in Oakland and the evangelicalism of the early prophets and messengers of the Nation of Islam. Exposing the roots of the faith, Peele examines its forerunner, the Moorish Science Temple of America, which in the 1920s and 30s preached to migrants from the South living in Chicago and Detroit ghettos that blacks were the world’s master race, tricked into slavery by white devils. In spite of the fantastical claims and hatred at its core, the Nation of Islam was able to build a following by appealing to the lack of identity common in slave descendants.

In Oakland, Yusuf Bey built a cult through a business called Your Black Muslim Bakery, beating and raping dozens of women he claimed were his wives and fathering more than forty children. Yet, Bey remained a prominent fixture in the community, and police looked the other way as his violent soldiers ruled the streets.

An enthralling narrative that combines a rich historical account with gritty urban reporting, Killing the Messenger is a mesmerizing story of how swindlers and con men abused the tragedy of racism and created a radical religion of bloodshed and fear that culminated in a journalist’s murder.

THOMAS PEELE is a digital investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group and the Chauncey Bailey Project. He is also a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. His many honors include the Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award for his reporting on organized crime, and the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. He lives in Northern California.

Killing the Messenger: A Story of Radical Faith, Racism’s Backlash, and the Assassination of a Journalist
Thomas Peele
Crown
February 7, 2012