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Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South's past, present, and future.Anchored in in Bakari Sellers' hometown of Denmark, South Carolina, Country illuminates the pride and pain that continues to fertilize the soil of one of the poorest states in the nation. He traces his father’s rise to become a fr Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South's past, present, and future.Anchored in in Bakari Sellers' hometown of Denmark, South Carolina, Country illuminates the pride and pain that continues to fertilize the soil of one of the poorest states in the nation. He traces his father’s rise to become a friend of Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King, a civil rights hero, and a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), to explore the plight of the South's dwindling rural, black working class―many of whom can trace their ancestry back for seven generations.In his poetic personal history, we are awakened to the crisis affecting the other “Forgotten Men & Women,” who the media seldom acknowledges. For Sellers, these are his family members, neighbors, and friends. He humanizes the struggles that shape their lives: to gain access to healthcare as rural hospitals disappear; to make ends meet as the factories they have relied on shut down and move overseas; to hold on to precious traditions as their towns erode; to forge a path forward without succumbing to despair.My Vanishing Country is also a love letter to fatherhood―to Sellers' father, his lodestar, whose life lessons have shaped him, and to his newborn twins, who he hopes will embrace the Sellers family name and honor its legacy.


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Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South's past, present, and future.Anchored in in Bakari Sellers' hometown of Denmark, South Carolina, Country illuminates the pride and pain that continues to fertilize the soil of one of the poorest states in the nation. He traces his father’s rise to become a fr Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South's past, present, and future.Anchored in in Bakari Sellers' hometown of Denmark, South Carolina, Country illuminates the pride and pain that continues to fertilize the soil of one of the poorest states in the nation. He traces his father’s rise to become a friend of Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King, a civil rights hero, and a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), to explore the plight of the South's dwindling rural, black working class―many of whom can trace their ancestry back for seven generations.In his poetic personal history, we are awakened to the crisis affecting the other “Forgotten Men & Women,” who the media seldom acknowledges. For Sellers, these are his family members, neighbors, and friends. He humanizes the struggles that shape their lives: to gain access to healthcare as rural hospitals disappear; to make ends meet as the factories they have relied on shut down and move overseas; to hold on to precious traditions as their towns erode; to forge a path forward without succumbing to despair.My Vanishing Country is also a love letter to fatherhood―to Sellers' father, his lodestar, whose life lessons have shaped him, and to his newborn twins, who he hopes will embrace the Sellers family name and honor its legacy.

30 review for My Vanishing Country: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    I didn't know who Bakari Sellers was before reading this book but the cover got my attention - such a serious, contemplative child. The intensity in his gaze made me wonder what he saw and what he was thinking about.   Bakari Sellers was only 22 when he was elected a representative to South Carolina, becoming the youngest African American elected official in the country. He has accomplished so much, though he is only 35 years old.  I almost DNF'ed this book after 50 pages. Initially, it jumped aro I didn't know who Bakari Sellers was before reading this book but the cover got my attention - such a serious, contemplative child. The intensity in his gaze made me wonder what he saw and what he was thinking about.   Bakari Sellers was only 22 when he was elected a representative to South Carolina, becoming the youngest African American elected official in the country. He has accomplished so much, though he is only 35 years old.  I almost DNF'ed this book after 50 pages. Initially, it jumped around too much and the writing felt strangely detached. It was tedious. There is a lot of information about his parents, especially his father and his work in the Civil Rights movement. That was interesting but I was often left floundering by the way the author jumps back and forth between his own life and that of his father, and other historical people and events. Then came a section where he seemed to brag incessantly which I always find irritating in memoirs.  Thankfully, the book gradually improved. Mr. Sellers found his writing voice and opened up. I finally felt like I was listening to him and not some detached observer of his life.  It took a hundred pages but it's well worth sticking with the book to finally get invited into Mr. Sellers' inner life. He shares his observations of racism, beginning at a young age, and of how he was motivated to fight for Black rights and equality. The photo on the cover says to me, "I see all the ugliness in this world and I'm determined to change it". The parts of the book scrutinizing systemic racism were the most interesting for me. I also appreciated Bakari's honesty about his intense anxiety and fear of failure. It is remarkable how he was able to use his anxiety to accomplish so much in so little time.  I hope Mr. Sellers will run for office again because we desperately need politicians with his compassion, insight, and drive. My guess is that he is considering running again and My Vanishing Country is a platform from which to launch a new political career. 3.5 stars rounded up. The writing quality isn't the best, but it's still a book worth reading. Bakari Sellers has a lot we need to hear.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    In all honesty, I was expecting more from this book. And that, I feel, is possibly why I’m rating it fairly low. Simply put, I didn’t find it all that interesting — though obviously it deals with extremely important and pertinent themes (particularly given the current scene). This book is often paired with ‘Hillbilly Elegy’, but I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Seller’s background is not akin to J. D. Vance’s, in that his parents and family background are arguably far more privileged — in In all honesty, I was expecting more from this book. And that, I feel, is possibly why I’m rating it fairly low. Simply put, I didn’t find it all that interesting — though obviously it deals with extremely important and pertinent themes (particularly given the current scene). This book is often paired with ‘Hillbilly Elegy’, but I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Seller’s background is not akin to J. D. Vance’s, in that his parents and family background are arguably far more privileged — in terms of education, and existing standing within the American public eye and especially the Black community. For a good chunk of this book, I found it quite hard to engage with author, feeling as though his story was comparatively unremarkable. That he was raised up by the inspired actions and efforts of his forebears, and seemed, on some level or other, to coast on this background, for instance frequently depending on what is most easily described as nepotism to continue his upward elevation. The title of this book is misleading, as the content more concerns Seller’s personal story than the plight of the wider Black community and the systematic destruction of small-town America. I went in expecting more of the latter, but instead got a solid helping of what occasionally veered on the side of egotistical self-aggrandising. That may seem harsh; but I did not feel a particular affinity for the author. He is undoubtedly a remarkably talented, eloquent and driven individual. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to an interesting narrative voice, nor compelling story. Being successful doesn’t make you interesting. The key content here is a story of his personal elevation. And it isn’t something akin to Tara Westover’s extraordinary ‘Educated’ (everyone, go read that!), nor the aforementioned ‘Elegy’ (which, incidentally, I was also disappointed by). Whilst there are some sections — especially the detailed accounts of his father’s activism — that I did find informative, I came away from ‘Vanishing Country’ unmoved. Ultimately, I think this is a book that could do with several more decades of life. While some of Seller’s accomplishments are self evidently head turning, they do not warrant a book at this moment in time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amerie

    June's Amerie's Book Club selection is My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers! 📚 In his unapologetically emotional memoir, CNN analyst Bakari Sellers shares what it is to grow up "Black, country, and proud." From the tragic event that helped to shape his life though it occurred before his birth, to his rise in politics while pursuing his education, to his dedication to not allowing those in his rural South Carolina community to be forgotten, to his personal experiences with anxiety, Bakari Sellers June's Amerie's Book Club selection is My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers! 📚 In his unapologetically emotional memoir, CNN analyst Bakari Sellers shares what it is to grow up "Black, country, and proud." From the tragic event that helped to shape his life though it occurred before his birth, to his rise in politics while pursuing his education, to his dedication to not allowing those in his rural South Carolina community to be forgotten, to his personal experiences with anxiety, Bakari Sellers' story left me amazed while also leaving me to wonder just how he managed to fit so much life into such a short time. His optimism, faith, and dedication to making the world a better place than he found it is not only inspiring, but is proof of the resilience and compassion of the human heart. Order the hardcover or buy the ebook version of My Vanishing Country and join me and author Bakari Sellers on the IGlive chat on June 30th! 📚 #AmeriesBookClub #ReadwithAmerie #ABC #MyVanishingCountry @BakariSellers @ameriesbookclub @AmistadBooks ABOUT BAKARI SELLERS Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just twenty-two years old, he defeated a twenty-six-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014 he was the Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor in the state of South Carolina. Sellers is a CNN political analyst and served in the South Carolina state legislature. Recently named to TIME's "Under 40” list, he is also a practicing attorney who fights to give a voice to the voiceless.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    I came across this book totally by chance, but I am glad I did. It's a short memoir (which are often the best kind when written by such young people, in my opinion). The author fuses his own experiences with those of his family members within the framework of American society and civil rights. I have to admit, I'd never heard of Sellers, but his story is not one I will be quick to forget. He was remarkably candid and even emotional, willing to confess his own mistakes, discuss the many obstacles I came across this book totally by chance, but I am glad I did. It's a short memoir (which are often the best kind when written by such young people, in my opinion). The author fuses his own experiences with those of his family members within the framework of American society and civil rights. I have to admit, I'd never heard of Sellers, but his story is not one I will be quick to forget. He was remarkably candid and even emotional, willing to confess his own mistakes, discuss the many obstacles he faced, yet all the while acknowledging the support he received and the powerful sense of hope and faith that bolstered him through difficult times. I also appreciated how open he was about his struggles with mental health and serious bouts of anxiety, which, though difficult for anyone to talk about, I think is sadly still more of a taboo for men to discuss openly. Sellers came across as quite personable and I am curious to learn more about him and his work. Recommended! Find my book reviews and more at http://www.princessandpen.com

  5. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    I was expecting something different from this book, maybe the role/condition of a rural black town in the current political climate. Instead this is more straight biography. Since I never heard of the author I was only mildly interested in this. He’s probably positioning himself to run for some political office.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Dr. Roz) Rosner

    Such a powerful memoir! Mr. Sellers covers the Civil Rights Movement, MLK, the Fierce Urgency of Now, the role of the church, and politics today. He artfully weaves together his story with his dad's. He is particularly transparent about his anxiety and he shares openly about the medical issues of his family, advocating for better maternal care. The Afterward left me in tears. Mr. Sellers narrates his memoir, making it all the more moving. Such a powerful memoir! Mr. Sellers covers the Civil Rights Movement, MLK, the Fierce Urgency of Now, the role of the church, and politics today. He artfully weaves together his story with his dad's. He is particularly transparent about his anxiety and he shares openly about the medical issues of his family, advocating for better maternal care. The Afterward left me in tears. Mr. Sellers narrates his memoir, making it all the more moving.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Hatley

    I rarely read non-fiction but I’m genuinely glad I made an exception and read this one. It is both educational and inspirational. Mr Sellers is a remarkable man. I should thank him for writing it. I’ve given this book 5 stars. It should be required reading for every American.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of Bakari Sellers on CNN - I think he's one of the more articulate commentators they've had over the past few years. But because of that, this wasn't quite the book I was expecting. With a title like My Vanishing Country, I was expecting more of a very personal overview of the deteriorating state of race relations during the Trump years, rather than a straight-up autobiography. And yes, it does say "memoir" right there on the cover, so that's partly on me. B Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of Bakari Sellers on CNN - I think he's one of the more articulate commentators they've had over the past few years. But because of that, this wasn't quite the book I was expecting. With a title like My Vanishing Country, I was expecting more of a very personal overview of the deteriorating state of race relations during the Trump years, rather than a straight-up autobiography. And yes, it does say "memoir" right there on the cover, so that's partly on me. But to be honest, as impressive as Sellers is, I don't know if his still-developing career calls for a real memoir at this point. Yes, he was South Carolina's youngest state legislator, and he did run for lieutenant governor, and he is a major CNN contributor. But to me those seem more like early episodes in the still-to-come memoir of Governor or Senator or even President Sellers someday down the road. But hey, one man's opinion. I did find the first CD (I had the audiobook version, which Sellers narrated himself) fascinating, talking more about his father Cleveland Sellers, a leading early civil rights leader of whom I was previously unaware, (I was similarly unfamiliar of the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre, which played a pivotal role in both Cleveland's and Bakari's lives). And the final CD was also equal parts interesting and depressing, as it begins with the 2015 Mother Emanuel shooting in Charleston and ends with the election and early months of Donald Trump. But the whole second and third CDs focused on Sellers' early life, education, college and political years, etc...again, just not what I was expecting. Still, I continue to look forward to Sellers' from-home commentaries on CNN, and I'm sure his will be an increasingly important political voice in the years to come.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Bakari Sellers is a commentator on CNN. He is a lawyer and a politician. His autobiography tells of an intelligent, hardworking man who is devoting his life to his family and his country. His understanding of the racism that exists in the United States is what made this book a five star read for me. I had little knowledge of the degree of racism that exits in the United States until the Black Lives Matter campaign began. My Vanishing Country explains the unfairness of the way African Americans a Bakari Sellers is a commentator on CNN. He is a lawyer and a politician. His autobiography tells of an intelligent, hardworking man who is devoting his life to his family and his country. His understanding of the racism that exists in the United States is what made this book a five star read for me. I had little knowledge of the degree of racism that exits in the United States until the Black Lives Matter campaign began. My Vanishing Country explains the unfairness of the way African Americans are thought of and treated by white Americans beginning with actual lies occurring in the schoolbooks about the inferiority of them intellectually.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sami

    This book was published at an incredibly relevant time, and Bakari Sellers is an important one that deserves to be told and shared. He presents historical context, sociological analysis, and religious sentimentality all within the framework of memoir. However, the writing just wasn’t great. For the first third of the book, I fought with myself to embrace the tone, explaining that perhaps Sellers was intentionally writing in a rural southern black vernacular that I didn’t quite connect to but cou This book was published at an incredibly relevant time, and Bakari Sellers is an important one that deserves to be told and shared. He presents historical context, sociological analysis, and religious sentimentality all within the framework of memoir. However, the writing just wasn’t great. For the first third of the book, I fought with myself to embrace the tone, explaining that perhaps Sellers was intentionally writing in a rural southern black vernacular that I didn’t quite connect to but could respect, but as the book continued, I couldn’t even convince myself of that. Profanity was dropped in at random, without much linguistic or emotional effect, only really serving to make a book that could be read by children (and perhaps should be) explicit. Rhetorical questions were increasingly common as the book went on, veering towards becoming uncomfortably preachy. Sellers relied somewhat too heavily on his ability to name drop powerful civil rights leaders and politicians—Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Julian Bond, Nikki Haley, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton to name a few—and while his father’s role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the relationships of both Sellers men were incredibly interesting and significant, Bakari Sellers hardly scratched the surface with most of these people. Wonderful as it may be to pick up the phone to call Julian Bond, I would much rather have heard the content of the conversation than the fact that Bakari Sellers calls him Uncle. Similarly, the (many) quotations included in this book were odd. It wasn’t clear that Sellers connected with the people he quoted for this book; in fact, it seemed like several of the quotations, even from his family members and close friends, were pulled from political interviews from Sellers’ time in the state house, rather than from personal conversations. If you’re writing a memoir with first-person narration, why are your friends talking about you in the third person? Ultimately, I thought the book read like a TED Talk and perhaps would have been better suited to that format. After all, I learned quite a bit from this book. I am embarrassed to acknowledge my utter ignorance about the Orangeburg Massacre, and it was enlightening to read about the philosophies of the rural Black south and places like Morehouse College. Sellers’ recounting of his wife’s near-death experience during childbirth was devastating, perhaps the only passage in the book in which Sellers succeeded at showing rather than telling, and it was gut wrenching. Nonetheless, I think all of these moments would have been far more powerful in the form of a speech with background images and quotations. This is a good book for the moment. Will it last much beyond that and join the company of Hillbilly Elegy and The Other Wes Moore? I doubt it, which really is too bad because Bakari Sellers is an interesting man with steadfast values and important things to say.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim KABLE

    Cometh the Day, Cometh the Book I “met” the author Bakari Sellers via an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now just two days ago. I googled his name - there was a book - this book - and immediately purchased - and read it - here in Australia. A memoir of a young man out of South Carolina - a former politician now political analyst/commentator for CNN - passionate, honest, perceptive. I write as Trump helps tear apart the US following the tipping point police murder of George Floyd in Minnea Cometh the Day, Cometh the Book I “met” the author Bakari Sellers via an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now just two days ago. I googled his name - there was a book - this book - and immediately purchased - and read it - here in Australia. A memoir of a young man out of South Carolina - a former politician now political analyst/commentator for CNN - passionate, honest, perceptive. I write as Trump helps tear apart the US following the tipping point police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis just a week ago. This book explains so much of the background to the ugly racist treatment of African American citizens of the US. (I note here that Australia is having to confront its own invasion/colonial era and abysmal treatment of First Nations peoples in this country - of land dispossession, massacres, missions, stolen generations of children, over-incarceration and deaths at the hands of police or in gaol - right up until to-day - check the names Miss Dhu, or David Dungay among a list nearly 500 strong of the past two to three decades.) I highly recommend reading this book by Bakari Sellers!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    CNN commenter Bakari Sellers shares his experiences growing up in rural South Carolina as the bright, driven son of a Civil Rights hero. I enjoyed learning about Bakari's father, who was jailed and later pardoned for his role in the Orangeburg Massacre -- the 1968 forerunner to the Kent State shootings, an event that was underreported because of systemic racism. Maybe because it's election week, but I found myself moved to tears by the end of the book, as Sellers and his wife become examplars of CNN commenter Bakari Sellers shares his experiences growing up in rural South Carolina as the bright, driven son of a Civil Rights hero. I enjoyed learning about Bakari's father, who was jailed and later pardoned for his role in the Orangeburg Massacre -- the 1968 forerunner to the Kent State shootings, an event that was underreported because of systemic racism. Maybe because it's election week, but I found myself moved to tears by the end of the book, as Sellers and his wife become examplars of the hazards Blacks face in America's healthcare system. Sellers reads the audiobook nicely.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    I really enjoyed getting to know Bakari Sellers. The content of this book was super interesting and his position as a civil rights legacy is incredible. The food was just ok but the content was great.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen Ashmore

    I grew up in SC. My mother’s family is from rural SC near Blackville and Denmark. I moved out of state in the late 70’s because I could not stomach the racist politics of the state, which still exists today with political segregation - almost all Republican state legislators are white and almost all Democrat state legislators are Black (except for maybe one white guy, who happens to be an old boyfriend). Overall a deeply red state. One of the things I like about Colorado is that ALL state and lo I grew up in SC. My mother’s family is from rural SC near Blackville and Denmark. I moved out of state in the late 70’s because I could not stomach the racist politics of the state, which still exists today with political segregation - almost all Republican state legislators are white and almost all Democrat state legislators are Black (except for maybe one white guy, who happens to be an old boyfriend). Overall a deeply red state. One of the things I like about Colorado is that ALL state and local elected officials that represent me, as in 100%, are Black Dems. My Vanishing Country is a memoir by Bakari Sellers, the youngest person to be elected to the state legislature. A young Black man from Denmark, SC. Son of SNCC activist Cleveland Sellers. Bakari describes key events that affected his life from the Orangeburg Massacre (Google it if you don’t know what that is), to his days at Morehouse, law school at Univ of SC (also my alma mater), to his campaign for House of Representatives, to his loss in his bid for Lt. Governor, to the Mother Emmanuel shootings, racism in SC, to flying the Confederate flag on Statehouse grounds (a total embarrassment to me), to Black maternal mortality. Granted, I loved the book because I knew so many of the places and people he described, but it was a meaningful book, too. I hope he runs for statewide office again. Highly recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I first learned of Bakari Sellers when I heard him on a political podcast I listen to frequently. I loved his insight on politics and the world. He is a uniter, not a divider. But he's not interested in achieving unification by ignoring the very real systemic problems that plague our nation, and harm black Americans in particular. He was direct without it feeling confrontational. Instead, I felt like his words enlightened my understanding and made me want to change myself and the world around me I first learned of Bakari Sellers when I heard him on a political podcast I listen to frequently. I loved his insight on politics and the world. He is a uniter, not a divider. But he's not interested in achieving unification by ignoring the very real systemic problems that plague our nation, and harm black Americans in particular. He was direct without it feeling confrontational. Instead, I felt like his words enlightened my understanding and made me want to change myself and the world around me. When his audio book became a daily deal on audible I grabbed it. I really did enjoy it. To be honest, I think I'd much rather sit in a cafe and just listen to Bakari tell me these stories organically rather than hearing him read the words. I think in his reading it took away a touch of the passion that he probably felt as he wrote it. But still, I really did enjoy this story. I don't understand why we struggle so much as a society to progress toward a more perfect union where the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution can be more fully realized by ALL people. As a fierce advocate for education, it really REALLY irritates me to hear about how poor, rural children are so short-changed when it comes to funding and support for education. It was just as irritating to listen to how rural families in poverty also deal with inadequacies in receiving proper healthcare. Surely we can do better. Surely. I loved Bakari's optimism and his passion for making a different and better world for his children. I loved hearing his history and the lessons he has learned. I really enjoyed this. Four stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christal

    Very timely book! As a white woman from rural Mississippi, I appreciated learning about the perspective of blacks in the rural American South. I also gained a greater historical understanding of the oppression and violence against African Americans in South Carolina particularly, but other areas of the South as well, and how this history shapes the police brutality and inequalities that continue to exist in America today.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bintou

    I really enjoyed reading about Bakari's early life and accomplishments My favorite parts are his discussion of: 1. his experience growing up in poverty, his awareness at such a young age of the disparities that he witnessed, and his feelings on leaving "behind" in poverty the friends that he grew up with. His early life experiences definitely played a role in his decision to become a representative and fight for Black people in neighborhoods like he grep up in. He's country and proud! 2. his experi I really enjoyed reading about Bakari's early life and accomplishments My favorite parts are his discussion of: 1. his experience growing up in poverty, his awareness at such a young age of the disparities that he witnessed, and his feelings on leaving "behind" in poverty the friends that he grew up with. His early life experiences definitely played a role in his decision to become a representative and fight for Black people in neighborhoods like he grep up in. He's country and proud! 2. his experience with anxiety. Despite watching him on TV, I would never have guessed that he dealt with extreme anxiety, especially as a politician who is regularly in the public eye. He also talks about how mental illness has affected both of his parents and how his fear or failure and death contribute to the weight he carries with him 3. his story of his wife and the birth of their twin babies. His wife almost died and he raises awareness to the fact that black women die at a much higher rate than other races when it comes to childbirth because their pain is not taken as seriously.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie G.

    I listened to this with my 21 year-old son, a political wonk since he started canvassing with mommy when he was about 2 and for the past two years a passionate worker against voter suppression in Georgia. The short book, about 5 hours on audio, was a great companion on the drive back to school (his final term in college!) Sellers' story is inspirational, he began serving in the SC statehouse at 22, the youngest member in history and is now a thoughtful commentator. Sellers is admirably honest ab I listened to this with my 21 year-old son, a political wonk since he started canvassing with mommy when he was about 2 and for the past two years a passionate worker against voter suppression in Georgia. The short book, about 5 hours on audio, was a great companion on the drive back to school (his final term in college!) Sellers' story is inspirational, he began serving in the SC statehouse at 22, the youngest member in history and is now a thoughtful commentator. Sellers is admirably honest about difficult subjects (his father's imprisonment that grew out of activism, his anxiety, the pain of having a child with serious health issues, etc.) and a good storyteller. I do think the parallels with our lives made it more special. My son grew up knowing quite a few Morehouse men, and the portion of the book about Sellers' Morehouse experience really resonated. Perhaps even more important we listened less than two weeks after seeing Raphael Warnock (one of my son's idols since the first time he preached in our temple when he was 5) elected to the Senate and the day after we attended our Temple's (Zoom) MLK shabbat and heard Pastor Sen. Warnock deliver an extraordinary sermon. He always moves us. (Ebenezer Baptist is our sister congregation and it was Pastor Warnock's guidance and wisdom our family sought on the day after the mass murder at Mother Emanuel, an event also covered in the book.) But even without those things this is a really good read, especially for young people with a passion for public service. For those interested in the MLK service and in Pastor Warnock's sermon, you can see the Zoom service here. https://youtu.be/I2BEDV-oF94. Pastor Warnock enters about 2/3 in but earlier there is lots of great footage from previous MLK services where we could be together.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A rather unusual memoir because I know and very much like his father, Dr. Cleveland Sellars, who I came to know (though I knew who he was before meeting him) personally in graduate school. He was always warm and welcoming to me and a delightful person to talk with. And here I am reading a memoir by his son. That makes me feel old. There are some interesting observations and remembrances. Probably the most difficult part to read about was the massacre at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, several of t A rather unusual memoir because I know and very much like his father, Dr. Cleveland Sellars, who I came to know (though I knew who he was before meeting him) personally in graduate school. He was always warm and welcoming to me and a delightful person to talk with. And here I am reading a memoir by his son. That makes me feel old. There are some interesting observations and remembrances. Probably the most difficult part to read about was the massacre at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, several of the victims lovely people I had met a few times times at poetry readings. One of the saddest days. He also relates some of his most troubling days, the near loss of his wife in childbirth and daughter to a rare liver condition. I hope Sellars does well in his journalistic and legal careers, and hopefully he will again be able to represent my fellow South Carolinians. Perhaps a tad repetitive at times, and some may argue it isn't very deep, but it is still readable and is likely a good book for younger, maybe junior high and high school levels, and it would be great if it sparked greater attention to historical events such as the Orangeburg Massacre and inspired more African Americans to step into politics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    The second half really made this book for me. I loved the commentary it made and it was interesting looking at our not so distant past with the election of Donald Trump. I really loved the idea of using sage on the U.S. right now, amen to that! Also now I really want to read Their Eyes Were Watching God. It was only mentioned a couple of times but it had me questioning why haven't I read this already??? Will be a classic I aim to read in 2021. The second half really made this book for me. I loved the commentary it made and it was interesting looking at our not so distant past with the election of Donald Trump. I really loved the idea of using sage on the U.S. right now, amen to that! Also now I really want to read Their Eyes Were Watching God. It was only mentioned a couple of times but it had me questioning why haven't I read this already??? Will be a classic I aim to read in 2021.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    First lets start with the cover, the picture of him as a child is an adorable one. From his nod to his father and history. The book is just outright intelligent and unique in the way that he tells not only his story but also the story of where. I also loved the section about anxiety, I love it when people personalize something that is so unique to each person that has it and his methods of coping with it were intriguing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Rounding up from 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the book and appreciated it in this moment, but I was also left wanting more. The writing style was casual and authentic making it easy to read. I felt the personality of the author came through very well. This book doesn’t feel ghostwritten! That said, it felt unpolished at times. Many of personal stories shared (especially in the second half of they book) were harrowing and the author did a good job of placing us in the action both physically and emotionall Rounding up from 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the book and appreciated it in this moment, but I was also left wanting more. The writing style was casual and authentic making it easy to read. I felt the personality of the author came through very well. This book doesn’t feel ghostwritten! That said, it felt unpolished at times. Many of personal stories shared (especially in the second half of they book) were harrowing and the author did a good job of placing us in the action both physically and emotionally. But other stories landed a little flat for me because the author seemed to be inserting himself in the story. Coming from a politician it was hard to not look at that as political. I appreciated his perspective but at times felt his conclusions lacked nuance. Yes race is a part (an under rated part) of recent politics, but it’s not everything. Someone looking for more comprehensive social and political analysis on recent events may be disappointed. Still, I enjoy Bakari Sellers’ personality and see him as being a positive in our cultural and political landscape. His personality came out well in the book and was endearing. I’m looking forward to more from him in the coming years.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Finished: 23.05.2020 Genre: memoir Rating: B Easy to read Father and son relationship....that I felt for Hopscotching places and times Carefully observed Wise but not self-righteous Political but not 1-dimensional Ironic "...we all deserve to be free and equal..." ...but that is not the case in USA as Bakari skillfully points out! Finished: 23.05.2020 Genre: memoir Rating: B Easy to read Father and son relationship....that I felt for Hopscotching places and times Carefully observed Wise but not self-righteous Political but not 1-dimensional Ironic "...we all deserve to be free and equal..." ...but that is not the case in USA as Bakari skillfully points out!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I expected to like this book a lot more than I did. Full of name-dropping and platitudes. Could not connect with the author, even when he describes traumatic events. If you aren't already read up on the black experience, you will learn some things. Bakari Sellers has had an interesting life, but he's not much of a writer. The photo on the cover is more expressive than anything inside of it. I expected to like this book a lot more than I did. Full of name-dropping and platitudes. Could not connect with the author, even when he describes traumatic events. If you aren't already read up on the black experience, you will learn some things. Bakari Sellers has had an interesting life, but he's not much of a writer. The photo on the cover is more expressive than anything inside of it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This is not particularly well-written, but it's a memoir of a young leader and his childhood in the rural south and his coming up through the political system. It's no dreams of my father, but it's interesting. This is not particularly well-written, but it's a memoir of a young leader and his childhood in the rural south and his coming up through the political system. It's no dreams of my father, but it's interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    This is a political book. It’s short because the author is young and builds much of his story around experiences of his father that impacted the family, specifically the Orangeburg Massacre, which I did not know about before reading Bakari Sellers’ memoir. This is the most interesting part of the bl narrative.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Herndon

    Beautiful memoir written from the soul. Bakari has wisdom beyond his 35 years as evidenced by the influence history and legacy have on his actions today. I appreciate his honesty and cold hard truths. With so much accomplished in his life thus far, I can only imagine what more is in store for him.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Malu

    Sellers has an interesting life story so far but the writing in this memoir was a bit clunky. A lot of difficult content was covered in this memoir, including his father's experience during the Orangeburg massacre, the Charleston church shooting, and his wife's near death experience delivering their kids. But there wasn't much depth to this retelling and I felt a lot more could have been said to really get the reader to think about these events and understand what it was like to experience them Sellers has an interesting life story so far but the writing in this memoir was a bit clunky. A lot of difficult content was covered in this memoir, including his father's experience during the Orangeburg massacre, the Charleston church shooting, and his wife's near death experience delivering their kids. But there wasn't much depth to this retelling and I felt a lot more could have been said to really get the reader to think about these events and understand what it was like to experience them from Seller's viewpoint. Same goes for some of the political arguments he made in the book, or even some of the positive milestones he covers, like winning his first election, working with Barack Obama, getting into college, etc. He passed over each topic so quickly and I would have liked to see more of a personal, in depth take on many of those topics.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chasity R

    Very well-done! You literally walk through the most monumental moments in this mans life — and if you’re a millennial, South Carolinian you can almost pinpoint when these stories took place. Bakari did an excellent job weaving in the unknown historical occurrences with how they impacted him and his family. He writes in a way that is full of Southern charisma. He also pays so much respect to those who influenced/supported him. I enjoyed his memoir and would recommend it to others.

  30. 4 out of 5

    La Toya S. Krider

    I enjoyed this memoir a lot. I think I liked it so much because I rarely get such openness and honesty from a Black man. Hearing about him growing up in the South (where my family is from), attending Morehouse and becoming a politician and lawyer was a different perspective from mine but also very relatable.

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