Powerfully evocative, Coates recalls life of struggle on the edge of chaos, and
what is was like to be a young black man in desperate times. Ta Nehisi grew up i
n 1980s Baltimore when the city was on the verge of chaos: drugs, gangs and the
constant threat of violence haunted the young black man's life wherever he went.
A boy need to learn the knowledge fast and Coates's father, Paul, was a fine te
acher: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplin
arian, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated
to telling the true history of African civilization.