cover image Makes Me Wanna Holler:: A Young Black Man in America

Makes Me Wanna Holler:: A Young Black Man in America

Nathan McCall. Random House Inc, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-41268-7

Gripping and candid, this autobiography tracks McCall's path from street-happy hustler in a working-class black neighborhood in Portsmouth, Va., to a three-year prison term for armed robbery, a decision to rehabilitate himself, and his successful struggles as a journalist, finally reaching the Washington Post . In street argot, McCall mixes memorable, often painful description with hard-won insight: on how a teenage gang rape of a 13-year-old girl represented black self-hate or why his militant 1970s generation was unwilling to make the compromises that his stepfather made. It was in jail that a wise older inmate taught McCall lessons about survival between lessons on chess. (``The white pieces always move first, giving them an immediate advantage over the black pieces, just like in life.'') McCall's entry into the middle-class white mainstream was not easy and he unsparingly details his difficulties and tensions with white newsroom colleagues, struggles with marriage and fatherhood, and painful visits back to his decimated Portsmouth neighborhood. Keenly aware of the tragedy of lost boyhood buddies, McCall offers no formulas, but warns that the new generation is even more alienated than his was. Film rights to Columbia Pictures; author tour. (Feb.)