Tina Jordan
November 09, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

My Long Trip Home

Current Status
In Season
Mark Whitaker

We gave it an A-

Though Whitaker may be familiar to many who followed his trajectories at Newsweek and CNN, this book is less about the journalist’s storied career than his gut-wrenching saga of family and racial identity. The son of a black Quaker father and a white half-French mother — scholars who met at Swarthmore in the 1950s — Whitaker came of age in the post-civil rights era, vaulting through ­Harvard and the magazine-world ranks, scarred by his parents’ short, volatile marriage and fueled by anger toward his alcoholic father. Whitaker doesn’t grapple with his messy family history until he’s a middle-aged man — but when he does, he spares neither his parents nor himself. In reading My Long Trip Home, you can feel him smarting as he rips off one Band-Aid after another. A-

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