The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War

Product Details
$30.00  $27.90
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.33 X 9.29 X 1.74 inches | 1.72 pounds

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About the Author
Chad L. Williams is the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. He is the author of the award-winning book Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era and the coeditor of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence. His writings and op-eds have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, and The Conversation. He lives in Needham, Massachusetts

"Illuminating . . . Deeply researched, crisply written . . . By rendering this story in such rich archival detail, Williams's book is a fitting coda to Du Bois's unfinished history of Black Americans and the First World War." --Matthew Delmont, The New York Times

"Williams wisely refrains from . . . judging his subject, instead allowing Du Bois's biography to unfold in all its messy, captivating, inspiring complexity. Specialists and general readers alike will profit from Williams's sensitive reconstruction of the most challenging period, ethically and politically, of Du Bois's long life." --Vaughn Rasberry, The Washington Post

"Drawing on extensive archives, Williams skillfully pieces together the book that Du Bois could not finish. Details personalize the narrative, which is one of remarkable dedication . . . In The Wounded World, Chad L. Williams has written . . . an account of failure that nonetheless succeeds in bringing Du Bois's brilliance, 'formidable ego' and many contradictions to light." --Douglas Field, Times Literary Supplement

"Stirring intellectual history . . . Williams convincingly renders Du Bois as a tragic figure whose optimism was dashed by the intransigence of racism, adding poignancy to a story about the limits and fragility of American democracy. At once a moving character study and a deeply researched look at a dispiriting era from the country's past, this is history at its most vivid." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A compelling account . . . Williams, like Du Bois before him, has done the important work of making sure that history is recorded and remembered . . . A solid bulwark against efforts to simplify and sanitize history." --Kirkus Reviews

"Until Professor Williams's heroic accumulation of sources, his stunning mastery of them, and uncanny reckoning with his subject's ego, Du Bois's unfinished history of the Great War remained a mystery. We can now write Q.E.D. to Chad Williams's brilliant The Wounded World." --David Levering Lewis, author of W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"Chad Williams managed to write a thoroughly gripping story of failure. In light of an American Century defined by war, the durability of racism, and the elusive quest for democracy, Williams's account of W. E. B. Du Bois's inability to complete his major treatise on Black participation in the First World War is a window onto how the tragedies of industrial scale killing, colonialism, and the color line changed the world and a man. The unfinished manuscript haunted its author as much as its subject matter haunted the world. Du Bois's romance with martial symbols and his unquenchable ambition clashed with his antiwar sensibilities and the racial terror he witnessed in the military abroad and in the streets at home--leaving America's greatest intellectual in a state we've never seen: deeply wounded and vulnerable. A genuine masterpiece." --Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

"In The Wounded World: W.E.B. Du Bois and the First World War, Chad Williams approaches the historical archives anew--with passionate rigor--to better understand how a crucial moment of international crisis impacted the greatest African American intellectual of the twentieth century. Through Williams's insightful portrait, we not only see the immense splendors of W.E.B. Du Bois. Here, we see Du Bois-the-man, one whose devotion to Black people--and to his American nation--was constantly tested, but never faltered." --Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

"I read The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War for pleasure--the pleasure of rigorous scholarship and narrative nuance, of the magisterial W. E. B. Du Bois in flesh and blood. In this extraordinary book, Chad Williams exploits the voluminous archive Du Bois collected in his ultimately failed quest to ease the tension between being Black and being American, a quest Williams presents in poignant clarity." --Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People