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Last of the Lions
is two histories woven into one remarkable story. It's a personal journey--the evocative life of Clarence B. Jones, from his depression- and segregation-era upbringing at the hands of caring Irish Catholic nuns through our current era (when the U.S. elected as President, back-to-back, the first African American to hold the office and a former game show host who dog-whistled to white supremacists). And all the unforgettable moments in between--his Ivy League years, his unprecedented dual role as simultaneous military draftee and protester, his work as an entertainment lawyer, financial/media entrepreneur, and more. But it's also the coming-of-age story of this country, with the kind of intimate observations and thought-provoking perspective that unfurl in classics like Soul on Ice, On the Road,
and The Feminine Mystique.
Between the time Jones was born and today, America's relationship with her black citizenry has experienced a sea change. Jones is the bridge from one America to another--spanning poverty and prosperity, injustice and acceptance, Harlem and Wall Street, even the militant underpinnings of the Black Nation of Islam and the Gandhian philosophy of Dr. King. His story is the connective tissue that clarifies our past, explains our present, and points the way to the future. Jones suffered the iniquities, fought the battles, and, unlike so many, lived to see both the fruits of his labor and its failings.
But this book is far from a treatise on race; Jones witnessed (and participated in) nearly every one of the most important political and social movements from the 1950s until today. During the seven crucial decades that defined today's "American Experience," Jones was in the thick of it.Last of the Lions
offers a vibrant perspective on human nature and light and dark sides of American values. Jones presents a guide to the ever-pressing--and even after 400 years, the still-unfinished--business in our country: Erasing the color line. Ferguson could have happened half a century ago, but it happened half a decade ago. Last of the Lions
explores a path to true equality laid out by perhaps the only American alive with the personal experience, political context, and social cachet to tackle the issue head-on.
History never felt so present, a philosophy so urgent.