The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto (Hardcover)

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A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK: San Francisco Chronicle, O, the Oprah Magazine, Time Out, Town and Country, Lithub

From journalist and New York Times bestselling author Charles Blow comes a powerful manifesto and call to action for Black Americans to amass political power and fight white supremacy.

Race, as we have come to understand it, is a fiction; but, racism, as we have come to live it, is a fact. The point here is not to impose a new racial hierarchy, but to remove an existing one. After centuries of waiting for white majorities to overturn white supremacy, it seems to me that it has fallen to Black people to do it themselves.

Acclaimed columnist and author Charles Blow never wanted to write a “race book.” But as violence against Black people—both physical and psychological—seemed only to increase in recent years, culminating in the historic pandemic and protests of the summer of 2020, he felt compelled to write a new story for Black Americans. He envisioned a succinct, counterintuitive, and impassioned corrective to the myths that have for too long governed our thinking about race and geography in America. Drawing on both political observations and personal experience as a Black son of the South, Charles set out to offer a call to action by which Black people can finally achieve equality, on their own terms.

So what will it take to make lasting change when small steps have so frequently failed? It’s going to take an unprecedented shift in power. The Devil You Know is a groundbreaking manifesto, proposing nothing short of the most audacious power play by Black people in the history of this country. This book is a grand exhortation to generations of a people, offering a road map to true and lasting freedom.

About the Author


Charles M. Blow is an acclaimed journalist and op-ed columnist for the New York Times who appears frequently on CNN. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones. He lives in Atlanta.

Praise For…


“In his provocative manifesto Charles Blow gives us one of the most thrilling experiences as readers: the challenge of imagining an alternate future. Writing in a long tradition of Black visionaries who’ve wrestled with the political implications of place and power, he exhorts African Americans to reconsider the possibilities of home against an historical backdrop of past migrations. Blow is one of our most penetrating thinkers and brilliant essayists, and in The Devil You Know he is putting it all on the line.”
— Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

“Charles Blow’s uncommonly specific and clear remedy for overcoming racial injustice in America is provocative, intriguing, innovative, and insightful. You won’t read another contemporary book on race as powerful as this bold work by one of the nation’s most compelling writers.”
— Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy

“A must-read in the effort to dismantle deep-seated poisons of systemic racism and white supremacy.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Blow's powerful writing is always stirring, but perhaps never more than in this timely, often personal call for the building of a better tomorrow.”
Town & Country

“Daring…. Valuable as a thought experiment alone but also an “actual plan” for effecting lasting political change.”
Kirkus, starred review

“Blow’s provocative call for action contains much food for thought…. He paints a devastating picture of how white liberals have failed to match rhetorical support for Blacks with action, and buttresses his political arguments with painful personal experiences.”
Publishers Weekly


Product Details
ISBN: 9780062914668
ISBN-10: 0062914669
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 26th, 2021
Pages: 256
Language: English