Manchild in the Promised Land

Claude Brown (Author) Nathan McCall (Introduction by)


With more than two million copies in print, Manchild in the Promised Land is one of the most remarkable autobiographies of our time--the definitive account of African-American youth in Harlem of the 1940s and 1950s, and a seminal work of modern literature.

Published during a literary era marked by the ascendance of black writers such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Alex Haley, this thinly fictionalized account of Claude Brown's childhood as a hardened, streetwise criminal trying to survive the toughest streets of Harlem has been heralded as the definitive account of everyday life for the first generation of African Americans raised in the Northern ghettos of the 1940s and 1950s.

When the book was first published in 1965, it was praised for its realistic portrayal of Harlem--the children, young people, hardworking parents; the hustlers, drug dealers, prostitutes, and numbers runners; the police; the violence, sex, and humor.

The book continues to resonate generations later, not only because of its fierce and dignified anger, not only because the struggles of urban youth are as deeply felt today as they were in Brown's time, but also because of its inspiring message. Now with an introduction by Nathan McCall, here is the story about the one who "made it," the boy who kept landing on his feet and grew up to become a man.

Product Details

$18.00  $16.56
Touchstone Books
Publish Date
December 27, 2011
5.52 X 1.03 X 8.37 inches | 0.78 pounds

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About the Author

Claude Brown was born in New York City and grew up in Harlem. At age seventeen, after serving several terms in reform school, he left Harlem for Greenwich Village. He went on to receive a bachelor's degree from Howard University and attended law school. He also wrote a book called The Children of Ham in 1976. Manchild in the Promised Land evolved from an article he published in Dissent magazine during his first year at college. He died in 2002 at the age of 64. Nathan McCall, author of Makes Me Wanna Holler, has worked as a journalist for The Washington Post. Currently, he teaches in the African American Studies Department at Emory University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Daniel A. Poling Brown's Harlem is alive in a way that no black ghetto has heretofore been brought to life between book jackets.
Nat Hentoff "Book Week" Sprung from the alley, a rare cat...As a survivor among the dying and the dead, Brown tells it like it was-and like it still is.
"Atlanta Journal" He writes about his life -- and Harlem -- with frank, brutal, and beautiful power. Mr. Brown's graphic narrative will make you laugh, cry, think, and possibly understand.
Dick Schaap "Books" This is a magnificent book, not a good book, not an interesting book, a magnificent book....It is a guided tour of hell conducted by a man who broke out.
Tom Wolfe "Manchild in the Promised Land" is Claude Brown's unforgettable epic of growing up as a boy on the streets of Harlem. His Zola-esque gift for slices of life is made all the more striking by his brilliant insights into character and social pressures.
Tom Wolfe "New York Herald Tribune" Incredible! No Negro writer ever told the whole street thing in Harlem: Claude Brown is the first.
James Baldwin A tremendous achievement.
Norman Mailer The first thing I ever read which gave me an idea of what it would be like day by day if I'd grown up in Harlem.
Romulus Linney "The New York Times Book Review" It is written with brutal and unvarnished honesty in the plain talk of the people, in language that is fierce, uproarious, obscene and tender.
William Mathes "Los Angeles Times" Sometimes a unique voice speaks out so clearly and with so much passion that it comes to speak for an era, a generation, a people...and we have to listen.