Campaign context

This is a slim book that covers a lot of ground. Subtitled Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, and Race in America, UC Davis prof Walker and Smithers conduct the discussion that should have occurred following the campaign kerfuffle over the Rev. Wright’s sermons. They explain the strange sort of “historical amnesia” white Americans have developed where race is concerned, which led to claims that Wright’s anger was “un-American.” They also discuss the ways that the black American church disrupts the idea of Christianity as a “white” system of beliefs. The good news is that Walker and Smithers aren’t biased; they provide an equally useful criticism of the extremely creative reading of history that Wright used in his sermons, which reflects a romantic Afrocentrism. It’s a balanced book, but slender; more documentation would make it a substantial scholarly work, but detract from its timeliness.