Author(s): Jeff Sparrow
Film star. Icon. Agitator. Martyr.
Paul Robeson was a prize-winning scholar and the greatest footballer of his era, even before he ascended to global superstardom as a singer, Hollywood actor, and activist. The son of an escaped slave, Robeson stunned audiences with 'Ol' Man River' and Othello, as his passion for social justice led him from Jazz Age Harlem to the mining towns of Wales, from the frontiers of the Spanish Civil War to Stalin's Russia.
Charismatic, eloquent, and handsome, he had everything - and then lost it all for the sake of his principles.
Jeff Sparrow traces Robeson's troubled life and stellar career, in a story that traverses the arc of the twentieth century and illuminates the fissures of today's fractured world. From Black Lives Matter to Putin's United Russia, Sparrow visits the places Robeson lived and worked, exploring race in America, freedom in Moscow, and the legacies of communism and fascism in Europe.
Part travelogue, part biography, this is a tale of political ardour, heritage, and trauma - a luminous portrait of a remarkable man, and an urgent reflection on the crises that define us now.
'Urgent and compelling ... A mix of essay, journalism, history and biography [that is] engaging, original and insightful ... Fascinating, instructive and full of astute observations on race and politics, In Search of Paul Robeson will appeal to readers passionate about social justice and the history of 20th-century political movements.' - Books+Publishing (starred review);'With sensitive inquisition; fierce curiosity; razor-sharp observation; crisp, engaging prose; and a fondness and respect for his subject that fairly sings, Sparrow once again proves himself one of the finest nonfiction writers we have.' - Maxine Beneba Clarke, author of The Hate Race;'An amazing story I didn't even know I didn't know. Jeff pulls us through the grubby terrain of race, Jesus, prison, and fascism.' - John Safran, author of Murder in Mississippi
Jeff Sparrow is a writer, editor, and broadcaster. He writes a fortnightly column for The Guardian and contributes regularly to many other Australian and international publications. Jeff is a member of the 3RRR Breakfasters team and the immediate past editor of literary journal Overland. He is the author of a number of award-nominated books, including Money Shot and Communism- a love story.