Manchild in the Promised Land
Read an Excerpt
Oh, hell! Let's get out of here!
"Turk! Turk! I'm shot?"
I could hear Turk's voice calling from a far distance, telling me not to go into the fish-and-chips joint. I heard, but I didn't understand. The only thing I knew was that I was going to die.
I ran. There was a bullet in me trying to take my life, all thirteen years of it.
I climbed up on the bar yelling, "Walsh, I'm shot. I'm shot." I could feel the blood running down my leg. Walsh, the fellow who operated the fish-and-chips joint, pushed me off-the bar and onto the floor. I couldn't move now, but I was still... see more
Reading Group Guide
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Manchild in the Promised Land was first published in 1965, it was praised for its realistic portrayal of Harlem—the children, young people, and 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 the struggles of urban youth are as deeply felt today as they were in Brown’s time but also because the book is affirmative and inspiring. This memoir of Claude Brown’s childhood spent 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. Here is the story about the one who “made it,” the boy who kept landing on his feet and became a man.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claude Brown was born in New York City in 1937 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 attend law school. Manchild in the Promised Land evolved from an article he published in Dissent magazine during his first year at college. Brown died in 2002.
To what does the “promised land” in the bo see more