Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo

The classic freewheeling look at race relations through the ages.

Mumbo Jumbo is Ishmael Reed’s brilliantly satiric deconstruction of Western civilization, a racy and uproarious commentary on our society. In it, Reed, one of our preeminent African-American authors, mixes portraits of historical figures and fictional characters with sound bites on subjects ranging from ragtime to Greek philosophy. Cited by literary critic Harold Bloom as one of the five hundred most significant books in the Western canon, Mumbo Jumbo is a trenchant and often biting look at black-white relations throughout history, from a keen observer of our culture.
  • Scribner | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684824772 | 
  • June 1996
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Ishmael Reed has created a sharp, wildly funny slave’s-eye view of the Civil War.Three slaves infected with Dysaethesia Aethipica (a term coined in the nineteenth century for the disease that makes Negroes run away) escape from Virginia. Not satisfied with leaving slavery halfway, one of the trio has vowed to go the whole distance to Canada; his master, Arthur Swille, determined to recover his property, pursues, hot on Raven Quickskill’s trail. With myth-bending ingenuity, Reed merges...

About the Author

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed grew up in working-class neighborhoods in Buffalo, New York. He attended Buffalo public schools and the University of Buffalo. As well as being a novelist, poet, and essayist, he is a songwriter, television producer, publisher, magazine editor, playwright, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and There City Cinema, both located in Northern California. He lives in Oakland, California. 

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