Life upon these shores: looking at African American history, 1513-2008

By Henry Louis Gates

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama.

Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship and including more than seven hundred images—ancient maps, fine art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters—Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the signal achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single “black experience.”

Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination.