by Matthew Pratt Guterl
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Pub Date 28 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023
W. W. Norton & Company, Liveright
A haunting, poignant story of growing up in a mixed-race family in 1970s New Jersey, in the tradition of The Color of Water.
Magnanimous and charming, Bob Guterl knew that he could solve the racial problems bedeviling postwar America. Determined to stave off impending global catastrophe, the larger-than-life judge and his resolute wife, Sheryl, launched a radical experiment, raising their two biological sons alongside four children adopted from Korea, Vietnam, and the South Bronx—the so-called “war zones of the American century”—in a white clapboard house with a white picket fence in small-town New Jersey.
In lyrical, often searing prose, Matthew Guterl, a renowned historian of race and their third-eldest child, recounts the ultimately troubling story of his family; his racially diverse siblings; and his idealistic parents, with their miragelike dreams of creating a racial utopia in an otherwise all-white community.
Chronicling the siblings’ coming-of-age in a recalcitrant, discriminatory society, Skinfolk peers behind that white picket fence, revealing many of the racial issues that continue to plague Americans today.
About the Author: Matthew Pratt Guterl is professor of Africana studies and American studies at Brown University. He is the award-winning author of four books, including Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe.