Cornel West is one of the nation's premier public intellectuals and one of the great prophetic voices of our era. Whether he is writing a scholarly book or an article for Newsweek, whether he is speaking of Emerson, Gramsci, or Marvin Gaye, his work radiates a passion that reflects the rich traditions he draws on and weaves together -- Baptist preaching, American transcendentalism, jazz, radical politics. This anthology reveals the dazzling range of West's work, from his explorations of "Prophetic Pragmatism" to his philosophizing on hip-hop. The Cornel West Reader traces the development of West's extraordinary career as academic, public intellectual, and activist. In his essays, articles, books, and interviews, West emerges as America's social conscience, urging attention to complicated issues of racial and economic justice, sexuality and gender, history and politics. This collection represents the best work of an always compelling, often controversial, and absolutely essential philosopher of the modern American experience.