book review, Cornel West

Cornel West’s Hope on a Tightrope, Pt. 3

I have a couple closing remarks to sum up West’s new book, Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom.

1. Awesome.

2. If you want a quick introduction to his thought — by no means his entire thought — but nevertheless his thoughts on a broad range of topics and what he finds interesting and important, give Hope on a Tightrope a read.

3. I understand that West is working on his memoirs. Hope could be understood as something of a prolegomena, me thinks. It certainly has a memoir ring to it, with much that West has learned and sees for the future, but entirely in quotable lines.

4. There is a whole lot more to the book than what I did write down in the past few posts. The book has in no way been exhausted, and because the way the book is constructed, I didn’t even hit on the main point. It is amazing how much has been packed into the book. It is certainly worth every dollar.

5. It is written in typical West style: weighty topics, but easily accessible on the popular level. I am still in awe of his range and ability to condense sophisticated topics. I wouldn’t hesitate to give the book to most anyone. At the very least, it works as an excellent way of getting to the heart of black liberation theology without the undue and misinformed baggage that was heaped on by the media last spring. Again, I recommend it heartily.


2 thoughts on “Cornel West’s Hope on a Tightrope, Pt. 3

  1. Robert says:


    I too marvel at his ability to disillusion complex subject matter for the masses. This has been one of the long-standing critiques against him, namely that someone with his breadth and depth of knowledge and wisdom, theological, philosophical, political and otherwise, should produce more scholarly work. I think West views himself as an intellectual intermediary intent to serve the common populace–something which the past criticisms in the mold of Leon Wieseltier and David Horowitz seem to miss.

  2. Yeah, I’ve heard that critique and I don’t like it one bit. He is help keeping the wider world sane, when repeatedly saying “Lets slow down, rethink this, remember rightly, and then work for change,” and as far as I’m concerned thats the ultimate point of academics.

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