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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 grandstanding.

--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 twentieth century.

--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