• Langston Hughes: The Value of Contradiction

  • By: Bonnie Greer
  • Narrated by: Bonnie Greer
  • Length: 4 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Langston Hughes was a man far ahead of his time, but his actions were often unpredictable, contradictory and refused classification. To give an example, he campaigned tirelessly for civil rights but then testified before the controversial House Committee on Un-American Activities, seen by many as a witch-hunt. 

Rather than ignoring or excusing these contradictions, Bonnie Greer confronts them, highlighting the many contradictions present in both his day and ours and painting an unforgettable portrait of a man caught up in strange and contradictory times.

©2016 Bonnie Greer (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Langston Hughes: The Value of Contradiction

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revelation

heart mind soul cracked open to stand on the Vista ...seeing before me the full soul heartbeat, thick rolling thunder of Black history in America. its truth strikes down the wispy, waspy white version of history laid out to me. ...

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Does not prove the thesis

The narration of Bonnie Greer is admirable and the man studied, Langston Hughes, is a significant American author. But this short survey does nothing to prove the "value of contradiction". The only contradiction that can be discerned is that a gifted intellectual like Hughes would be expected to do the right thing and stand up like a man, not bow down to McCarthy and the paranoid Cold Warrior demagogues of the 1950s. The bulk of the book is spent on brief and superficial summaries of slavery during colonial times, the various controversies and compromises before the Civil War, Jim Crow era America, etc. with only a faint linkage of these realities to Langston Hughes. His testimony as a "friendly witness" before the McCarthy committee is given a paragraph or two with no analysis, just cliches that Hughes had to make a living and was angling for screenwriting jobs in Hollywood. So this justifies being silent in the face of the criminal actions of McCarthy and his henchmen, destroying careers, lives, families and our democracy? Amiri Baraka is quoted as saying that he still loves Langston Hughes, in spite of the fact he betrayed his friends and his people. This is the extent of Greer's exploration of the inexplicable actions and statements Hughes made before the committee. If you would like a Cliff's Notes version of African American history and Langston Hughes' biography, this is for you. If you expect penetrating analysis and thought provoking argument, look elsewhere.

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  • ericasharlette
  • 05-30-22

Brilliant insight

Performance truly entertaining and informative. Brava! Kept my interest throughout, and taught me far more than I expected.