A History Beyond Black and White


For Ages: 12 and up
  • 1
Race. You know it at a glance: he's black; she's white. They're Asian; we're Latino.

Racism. I'm better; she's worse. Those people do those kinds of things.

We all know it's wrong to make these judgments, but they come faster than thought.

Why? Where did those feelings come from? Why are they so powerful? Why have millions been enslaved, murdered, denied their rights because of the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes?

Acclaimed young-adult historian Marc Aronson tackles these and other questions in this astounding book, which traces the history of racial prejudice in Western culture back to ancient Sumer and beyond. He shows us Greeks dividing the world into civilized and barbarian, medieval men writing about the traits of monstrous men, until, finally, Enlightenment scientists scrap all those mythologies and come up with a new one: charts spelling out the traits of human races.

Aronson's journey of discovery yields many surprising discoveries. For instance, throughout most of human history, slavery had nothing to do with race. In fact, the idea of race itself did not exist in the West before the 1600s. But once the idea was established and backed up by "scientific" theory, its influence grew with devastating consequences, from the appalling lynchings in the American South to the catastrophe known as the Holocaust in Europe.

With one hundred images, this is a dynamic, thought-provoking work-history as quest, written as only Marc Aronson could do it.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689865541 | 
  • November 2007 | 
  • Grades 6 and up
List Price $19.99
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About the Author

Marc Aronson
Photo Credit:

Marc Aronson

Marc Aronson is the author of the critically acclaimed Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado, winner of the ALA’s first Robert L. Sibert Information Book Award for nonfiction and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. He has won the LMP Award for editing and has a Ph.D. in American history from NYU. He lives with his wife and son in Maplewood, New Jersey.