On a Move: The Story of Mumia Abu-Tamal
Book: On a Move: The Story of Mumia Abu-Tamal , by Terry Bisson, ISBN10: 0874869013, ISBN13: 9780874869019, Plough Publishing House, The, February 2001, Paperback
Everyone has an opinion about Mumia Abu-Jamal. Have an informed opinion. Read his story. Mumia Abu-Jamal is one of the most controversial icons of our time. A prominent African-American journalist on death row in Pennsylvania, he has come to symbolize America's failure to address fundamental issues of race, justice, and dissent. Yet despite years of widespread demonstrations calling for his freedom, few people really know who Mumia was before he became a death row "celebrity."
Most people know Mumia through his books Live from Death Row (1995), Death Blossoms (1996), and All Things Censored (2000), which cemented his reputation as a "voice of the voiceless." In On a Move: The Story of Mumia Abu-Jamal, award-winning author Terry Bisson brings to life the man behind that voice.
Now, for the first time, readers can meet Mumia as student, radical, lover, father, and reporter. Covering a childhood in Philadelphia's projects, a turbulent youth in Oakland and New York, a promising career in radio journalism, and a fateful sidewalk altercation that changed everything, Bisson's colorful sketches tell the story of one of the stormiest periods in American history, and of a young rebel who came of age in its crucible. On A Move will tell you how Mumia became the figurehead he is today, and why almost every progressive organization in the world has called for his freedom or at least a new trial. However, it does not dwell on the contradictory details of his conviction. Instead, in a readable style aimed at a broad audience, Bisson fleshes out the complexities and warmth of a man constantly dehumanized and reduced to two dimensions, both by those who want to see him dead, and by his supporters' tendency to make him a poster-perfect "cause." Whatever one's views on freedom of speech, racial discrimination, capital punishment, or even Mumia's guilt or innocence, this book will give you a vital understanding of a man and a movement that have already left their mark on history.
About The Author
Terry Bisson is the author of numerous science fiction novels, short stories, motion picture novelizations, and a biography of Nat Turner for young adults. A winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, as well as France's Gran Prix de l'Imaginaire, Bisson has written for The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Nation.
Calling attention to the plight of death row activist, journalist and NPR contributor Abu-Jamal, award-winning science fiction author Bisson attempts a full-scale portrait of the controversial figure implicated in a police slaying in Philadelphia nearly two decades ago. What he delivers is a well-intended rehash of mainstream media accounts. The book's real value is in its chronicle of Abu-Jamal's bold, inquisitive youth on Philadelphia's mean streets, inspired by his exceptional mother to become a compulsive reader with a deeply curious mind. In school, Abu-Jamal discovered the causes of black liberation and black power, and became a natural student leader. In his early teens, he faced his first police run-in at one of George Wallace's presidential campaign rallies and was "beaten so badly that his own mother didn't recognize him." His tenure with the Black Panthers during their glory days awakened his talent for writing and activism, and so impressed his comrades in Philadelphia that they made him lieutenant of information at age 15. Abu-Jamal's tireless efforts on behalf of the Panthers brought him to the attention of Hoover's FBI, placing him on the infamous Cointelpro target list. A series of painful episodes of police harassment and intimidation against Abu-Jamal followed, ultimately leading to that fateful night in 1981 when Abu-Jamal was shot and seriously wounded while defending his brother during a conflict that ended in the shooting death of an officer. Labeled a "cop-killer," Abu-Jamal faced a highly charged trial that ended in a death sentence that has stirred international interest. Written in short, energetic vignettes, Bisson's tribute occasionally fails to fill in the gaps in Abu-Jamal's travails, choosing heated rhetoric over researched substance at a time when more information and less fist pumping would suit the imprisoned writer's cause well. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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