Cover Image: Letters to the Sons of Society

Letters to the Sons of Society

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Member Reviews

If you've read the author's first book, then you already know his life's story.  In this one, he pens letters to both of his sons about life, some of the things he's experienced and some of the things they might experience growing up in this country as young black men.  This was such a powerful and eye opening read that provides a variety of life lessons, especially for the black youth of today.  

I received a copy of the book from NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review of my own thoughts and opinions.
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This book is such an important read and it was so touching for a father to communicate with his son in this way.  This book with have you wrapped up emotionally in a good way.  Enjoy the letters.
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This was a different read for me. I signed up for the ARC in the hopes to broaden my view of the world. I knew nothing of Shaka Senghor and his experiences before starting his letters.

I enjoyed this. These were not letters written to me or for me, but I could feel what Shaka was trying to convey to his sons through this writing. I think all parents should write letters to their children in the hopes of them better understanding their lives and the lives around us.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.
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Deeply honest, vulnerable, and wise, Shaka Senghor shares letters written to his sons that also help the reader understand where he came from and where he is headed with his ideals. There are some gorgeously written passages in here, as well as some that are painful to read because of the content. I can't imagine the level of self-acceptance one would have to feel in order to bare so much of the soul for all to read. Lucky for us, Senghor's wisdom is available not just to his sons, but to all of us.
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Shaka Senghor has won multiple awards, published a best-selling memoir, taught at the University of Michigan, and runs his own business. He is a father who wants the best for his children. He is also an African American man who was in prison at age nineteen and spent seven years in solitary confinement. His father’s letters sustained him in jail. Writing changed his life. His Letters to the Sons of Society is written to change the lives of his sons and the lives of black youth everywhere. For Senghor, nothing is more important than our children.

A lot of people believe in a divine power; others believe in the power of nature; but to me, the greatest power that drives our world is the love we have for our children.from Letters to the Sons of Society by Shaka Senghor

Senghor reflects on his experiences and draws lessons. The letters are deeply humane, with sensitive insight, affirming and hopeful, universally applicable. I was very moved, my heart aching.

Senghor shares his own story of growing up middle class in Detroit, running away from home to escape abuse, and becoming embroiled in the drug trade. He was raped, shot at, and at age nineteen killed a man and sent to prison for nineteen years. He writes of losing his humanity and hope in prison until the support fellow of inmates helped him. How books and meditation and writing a journal changed him. Then, the difficulty of reentering society as man with a child’s experience of the world. He shares his story to honor the men he had left behind in prison. He tells about the daily struggle to speak honestly, affirm himself, and deal with the legacy of trauma. In 2017, his memoir Writing My Wrongs became a best seller. His activism brought attention, and he writes, “Think about this, my dear son. I had been let out of prison in 2010 and told that I’d be back in six months. Now I was slated to go to the White House just five years later.” “Things change,” he assures his son.

In prison he began to writing a journal. “It felt like an act of mediation,” he writes, that brought an “overwhelming sense of joy.” A pamphlet on meditation allowed him to learn to let go of what he could not control. “Letters saved my life,” he writes to his son Sekou.

Senghor helped create Men of Courage, a grassroots organization centered around storytelling.

There is so much to learn from this book. It is a confession in the literary sense. It is about the power of love. It is about the reality of prison. It is about race. And about the power of storytelling.

I was given a free egalley by Random House through NetGalley. My book review is fair and unbiased.
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