The Man from Essence: Creating A Magazine For Black Women

Edward Lewis with Audrey Edwards. Atria, $25 (295p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0348-0
Written with great candor and detail, Lewis, one of the cofounders of Essence magazine, a pioneering publication for America’s black women, recounts his life as a businessman and publisher, with a successful 40-year run from its 1970 launch with a circulation of 50,000 to its sale to Time Warner in 2005 with a circulation of 1.1 million. His hardscrabble childhood in the Bronx, raised by a single mother, is nothing unusual, but as in Camille Cosby’s astute foreword, it is the ingredients of that youth that make Lewis the perfect candidate for the Essence project: “a positive paradigm of black manhood… with a great respect for black women.” He weathered early fumbles such as losing a college football scholarship and flunking out of law school before fashioning a magazine paying homage to the Essence woman, who the author describes as smart, stylish, ambitious with “tremendous purchasing power.” Along the way, Lewis mentions the nasty feuds and firings of associates and editors, his personal relationships, and the events that led up to his angioplasty operation. This is a powerful chronicle of a purposeful life and how a collaborative project served as an inspirational beacon to the black community. Agent: Faith Hampton-Childs, Faith Childs Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 06/10/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-0350-3
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-4767-0349-7
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