cover image Let It Bang: A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns

Let It Bang: A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns

RJ Young. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (192p) ISBN 978-1-3288-2633-6

Young, an African-American journalist, explores gun culture in this searing take on race and gun ownership in the U.S. Young recalls his childhood in gun-friendly Mississippi and Florida, and the perception of black youths as being a threat to white America. As a student at the University of Tulsa, he met and began to date a woman named Lizzie, the daughter of a white gun enthusiast. In order to get into the good graces of her father, Charles, Young developed an interest in guns. While Young had avoided guns throughout his life, his attitude changed when he began accompanying Charles to target practice and gun shows full of passionate Second Amendment supporters. Young and Lizzie married, and eventually, Young himself became obsessed with guns and skilled in the care of weapons, and met the requirements to become an NRA-certified pistol instructor. His marriage ended after two years, however, when he realized just before the 2016 presidential election that Lizzie herself was prejudiced. His experiences reaffirmed for him that “Gun culture in America is inherently racist because white people historically fear black men with guns.” Honest and heartbreaking, Young’s raw account of being a black gun owner in America will mesmerize readers. (Oct.)