Books: The Unferocious Negro

SHADOW & ACT by Ralph Ellison. 317 pages. Random House. $5.95.

According to James Baldwin, LeRoi Jones, Malcolm X and any number of other writers and seers, the U.S. Negro is consumed with hatred of whites and is on the verge of doing some foul and desperate deed. Negro Writer Ralph Ellison's coolly reasoned essays are a timely rebuttal of this extravagant thesis. In clean, brisk, unapocalyptic prose, Ellison denies that "unrelieved suffering is the only 'real' Negro experience, and that the true Negro writer must be ferocious. . . . What an easy...

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