Praise for Melvin Patrick Ely's
The Adventures of Amos 'n' Andy
Compelling . . . a stunningly objective look at the history
of the program and how it affected, and was affected by, the culture at
large. . . . Remarkable.
--Michael Blowen, Boston Globe
Mr. Ely, with grace and concision, folds in the history of
minstrel performance. . . . Amos 'n' Andy was an instant success, and
went on to become both a national institution and a subject of racial
controversy; Mr. Ely's sensitive and scholarly work shows us why.
--The New Yorker
The problem of the twentieth century, Du Bois averred,
would be the problem of the 'color line.' But what happens when the
color line serves double-duty as a punch line? Melvin Patrick Ely
offers an engrossing, perhaps definitive, account of one of the most
fascinating episodes in popular entertainment. There was never anything
black-and-white about the achievements--and failings--of Amos 'n' Andy,
and Ely's work helps us make sense of its ambiguous legacy.
--Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Engaging . . . . [Ely] does a brilliant job of sorting out
what is in many ways a hellishly complex story. . . . With exemplary
scholarship and well-reasoned eloquence, he advances us a long way
toward understanding, while also vividly revealing some unsettling
aspects of our culture that shouldn't be forgotten.
--Brian St. Pierre, San Francisco Chronicle
A rare study of popular culture that is also valid as
serious history . . . a careful, thoughtful book that declines every
opportunity--and many are presented--for politically correct
--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
Painfully funny . . . ironic.
--Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, National Public Radio
Melvin Ely's Amos 'n' Andy brings new and refreshing
subtlety and complexity to our understanding of American racial
attitudes, black as well as white, during the first half of the
--C. Vann Woodward
Melvin Patrick Ely has undertaken to tell nothing less than
the entire story of this astonishingly popular and yet problematic
show, and to establish its place in the history of racial
understanding--and misunderstanding--in America. Ely combines serious
scholarship with a keen eye for irony and illuminating detail to make
Amos 'n' Andy a striking book on American race relations in the
twentieth century as seen from the radically transforming perspective
of radio and television.
--Arnold Rampersad, author of The Life of Langston Hughes and Jackie Robinson: A Biography