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Man in the Mirror

John Howard Griffin and the Story of Black Like Me

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


First published by Orbis Books in 1997, Man in the Mirror tells the story behind Black Like Me, a book that astonished America upon its publication in 1961, and remains an American classic 50 years later. In 1959 a white writer darkened his skin and passed for a time as a "Negro" in the Deep South. John Howard Griffin was that writer, and his book Black Like Me swiftly became a national sensation. Few readers know of the extraordinary journey that led to Griffin's risky "experiment"—the culmination of a lifetime of risk, struggle, and achievement. A native of Texas, Griffin was a medical student who became involved in the rescue of Jews in occupied France; a U.S. serviceman among tribal peoples in the South Pacific, where he suffered an injury that left him blinded for a decade; a convert to Catholicism; and, finally, a novelist and writer. All these experiences fed Griffin's drive to understand what it means to be human, and how human beings can justify treating their fellows—of whatever race or physical description—as "the intrinsic Other." After describing this journey and analyzing the text of Black Like Me, Robert Bonazzi treats the dramatic aftermath of Griffin's experiment and life. Man in the Mirror provides a fascinating look at the roots of this important book, and offers reflections on why, after all these years, it retains its impact and relevance. 

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 01, 1997 – In 1959, John Howard Griffin, a white man, chemically altered the color of his skin to become a black man, and entered black society in the Deep South so that he could experience firsthand the harshness and prejudice of segregation. His book, Black Like Me, described his experiences to an audience that was fascinated by the sensational aspects of his journey. At the heart of Griffin's experience, however, was a deeply spiritual notion that we see in all human beings our "intrinsic other." Bonazzi, who was close to Griffin, here traces the journey of John Howard Griffin from his early life through the aftermath of the publication of Black Like Me. Through interviews and close readings of Black Like Me, a portrait of Griffin as a compassionate man deeply committed to social justice through love emerges. In the first section of the book, Bonazzi explores Griffin's life to show that his background in a racist family and community in Texas militated against his journey toward justice. But, through his years as a student in Paris as well as through his own physical blindness, Griffin became a man who worked tirelessly, though primarily through his writings, for racial justice. In the final section of the book, Bonazzi uses Griffin's letters, novels and journals to show how deeply his Catholic faith, particularly his long friendship with Thomas Merton, informed his vision of himself as a priest to others through his writings. While Bonazzi's book gives a fascinating portrait of an important personality in American history, his style of piling quotation upon quotation makes for tiresome reading.
Man in the Mirror
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 01, 2010
  • Publisher: Wings Press
  • Seller: Chicago Review Press, Inc. DBA Independent Publishers Group
  • Print Length: 227 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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