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Middle Passages


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James T. Campbell, PhD, is professor of United States history and the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States history at Stanford University. Dr. Campbell earned his BA from Yale University and both his MA and PhD from Stanford University. He is the author of Race, Nation, and Empire in American History and Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005.

David Levering Lewis is the author of God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919; W. E. B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963; and more. Lewis's work can be characterized as comparative history with interests in biography, civil rights, Europe and empire, and cultural politics. He is professor of history at New York University.


Reversing middle passage from Africans' forced transatlantic voyages as slaves to African Americans' voluntary journeys back to Africa, the prize-winning Campbell (American civilization, Africana studies & history, Brown Univ.; Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa) explores spiritual, political, psychological, and emotional dimensions of 220 years of blacks' reconnections with their ancestral homeland. Campbell shows how internal personal and group identities imprinted these itineraries even as the journeys demanded jettisoning preconceptions for black Americans in order to reimagine themselves and their kindred African blacks. His 12 chapters focus on the push and pull of the "Dark Continent" on leading African Americans, past and present, whose reflections illuminate answers to two intertwined questions central to African American history: What is Africa to me? What is America to me? Sweeping in scope, rich in detail, and pointed with insights, Campbell's tour de force offers much to ponder about the African American past and present. Essential for collections on African American history, literature, and culture, the Atlantic world, the black diaspora, Pan Africanism, or what might be called black globalization. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Campbell is a master storyteller who engages the reader in the human drama of American blacks confronting cultural realities that do not always square with the myths of an imagined native land. . . . Campbell provides an artful reconstruction of the often bittersweet experience of return and reunion. (The New York Times Book Review)

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