My American Life: From Rage to Entitlement

Price Cobbs, Author . Atria $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7434-9619-3

Coauthor of Black Rage , the seminal 1968 work that identified the syndrome and coined the phrase, psychiatrist Cobbs here sketches the influences and experiences that shaped him and his work. The result is a nuanced portrait of mid–20th-century racial consciousness, one that insists on claiming "entitlement" (a sense of belonging and of worth) as proper rechanneling of rage. Born in Los Angeles in 1928, Cobbs grew up in an upper-middle-class family that faced regular discrimination, behavior that caused his father's "subtle undercurrent of anger." Service in a segregated army unit reinforced Cobbs's recognition of American ideals unmet. Moving to the South to enter medical school in Nashville in 1954 added further to his store of experiences—and his own responses to them. Studying psychiatry, Cobbs vowed to understand people's feelings and behavior in the broadest context, including feelings about race, a factor previously underacknowledged; this approach was the precursor to what he calls Ethnotherapy. An instance of race-based vandalism led Cobbs to George Leonard of the Esalen Institute; together they developed an innovative cross-racial confrontation group, in which, yes, black rage surfaced from even the better-off. Rage , co-written with William Grier, appeared after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in a country searching for answers. The rest of this book is brief; the bilddung sections, its bulk, illuminate a personal and generational odyssey. Author tour . (Sept. 20)

Reviewed on: 06/20/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4165-1017-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-7434-9622-3
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