BOOKS ...

  • Share
  • Read Later
BOOKS . . . GO AND TELL PHARAOH: "It takes only a glance at the rev. Al Sharpton to know that he is a man of considerable heft," says TIME's Jack White. "What the rotund rabble rouser would like you to conclude from his autobiography (Doubleday; 270 pages; $23.95), is that he is also a fellow of considerable substance." With the aid of his collaborator, Anthony Walton, he casts himself as a sort of 'Sharpton Lite.' He writes with calculated candor about aspects of his life that can be counted on to spark empathy -- for instance, his early career as a traveling Pentecostal 'boy preacher,' which began at age four. But when it comes to his forays into racially charged controversies, White says Sharpton's account is self-servingly selective: "Sharpton owes his celebrity and influence to his willingness to do whatever it takes to be noticed by the media, from leading marches to being arrested to allowing himself to be photographed while his famous James Brown hairdo is being dried -- in short, by being a rascal. If he were really as pious and responsible as he comes across in this book, no one would have paid any attention at all."