Books: The Good Black: A True Story Of Race In America

By Paul M. Barrett

This fast-paced account of a bitter racial discrimination case brought by a Harvard-trained black attorney successfully evokes the tortuous ambiguities that surround efforts to integrate the professional work force through affirmative action. But it never quite answers the hard question at the heart of the story: Was Lawrence D. Mungin, the "good black" of the title, a competent lawyer who got the shaft because he was black, or a disillusioned Uncle Tom who blamed racism when his ambitions exceeded his talent? Without knowing that, it's impossible to judge the validity of Mungin's case.

--By Jack E. White


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