Review of The Children of Ham

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Editors: Jean C. Stine and Daniel G. Marowski
Date: 1984
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 799 words

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[In the excerpt below, Rampersad considers Brown the “true epic poet of modern Harlem,” based on Brown's writings, Manchild in the Promised Land and The Children of Ham.]

Harlem is once again on Claude Brown's mind, and it should be on ours. With Manchild in the Promised Land, and now The Children of Ham, he has established himself as the true epic poet of modern Harlem. Manchild chronicled his escape from disaster there; Children of Ham is his testimony that no such escape is totally possible, that one must go home again or live and die a traitor. Brown brings the survivor's guilt to his reportage; this is the story of other menchildren and womenchildren left behind in his escape though born after his time. The manic humor of Manchild is gone. Harlem is an apocalypse and the story is revelation itself. Though the autobiographer of Manchild was part Poor Richard, part Horatio Alger hero, and part con man, with the work itself his most sophisticated and lucrative hustle, Brown's best instincts are toward the rational, the moral and the prophetic, and between the first book and the second he has had much time to think of his...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420001110