Book Review: Recovering from the Man

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In his fourth quick-hit political manifesto, the African American author best known for his jazzy Easy Rawlins mystery series (Black Betty, Devil in a Blue Dress) doesn’t blame the system, or even the man, for America’s political, economic, and cultural decline. He simply points out that free-market capitalism is incompatible with democracy, and that it works most efficiently when its benefactors–in this case the rich, ruling class–condition people to fear dissent and accept that the price of doing business includes poverty, war, and spiritual subjugation.

A sober alcoholic, Mosley asks readers to take responsibility by admitting that we live in a society afflicted with a social disease, and he recommends a series of personal steps to recover from oppression. These include valuing historically accurate education, speaking the truth, and understanding our collective worth. As with Mosely’s previous polemics, the prose sometimes wanders, and he allows for logical detours while he’s pursing his thesis. But the smart, strident writing and Mosley’s unabashed allegiance to a new working-class ethic will rivet readers from the word revolution.

Have something to say? Send a letter to This article first appeared in the July-August 2011 issue of Utne Reader

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