The History of White People

The History of White People

Book - 2010
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Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of "whiteness" for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of "race" is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, [2010]
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780393049343
Branch Call Number: 305.8 P166
Characteristics: xii, 496 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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Jun 21, 2020

Like Genovese, Nell Irvin Painter flips convention on its head with her book “The History of White People,” in which she examines race through the lens of whiteness, instead of blackness. What has whiteness meant through history, asks Painter, a professor emerita at Princeton, and how has it come to shape race relations in America, from the earliest European settlements to the present? (For those who want to read more from Painter, but in a different register, also check out “Old in Art School,” her memoir about her post-academic career.) - NYT

Feb 07, 2020

The construct of race was originated by the Hamitic Negro and Asiatic people groups as they, along with the sons and daughters of Shem and Japheth, moved across Pangea (Earth without continental divisions) through the first recorded beauty pageant among the early Mongols. Race came from a distinct form of standard of beauty. So in essence, racial categorizations has been with us for thousands of years of our human history and a so-called book about white people written by a extremely race-conscious black woman is an oxymoron? I appreciate Nell Irving Painters unique way of explaining the "painful to make it palpable", it unfortunately still isn't the answer to a fair and honest discussion on race matters.

Jan 08, 2020

One of the most important and insightful books that I have ever read. It made me upset at first, but the longer I thought about it the more I began to let my guard down and embrace the message the book is giving. I feel like I have become much more aware and compassionate of others after really giving this book a fair chance. I hope one day this book will become a required reading in school.

JCLJohnK Oct 06, 2018

A must read for anyone interested in the history and evolution of the concept of race in Western society. This work focuses on Europe and America and the ways "race" has been redefined through the ages. It offers a perspective that gets behind all of our basic assumptions.

Jun 02, 2016

It will shock some well-educated people how racial prejudices motivated "white people" (the definition constantly changing) to place themselves above the "huddled masses" and define race on a "Christian" scale. But the concept of race is relatively modern but forefathers such Emerson and Teddy Roosevelt were true believers in their own words. A detailed and unwavering history of the concept of race, all the head measuring and the so-called science of beauty. The author has done solid work and has an easy style to follow. Bravo!

Apr 25, 2011

Great overview of the concept of whiteness, especially pertaining to the USA. Chapters tend to be brief and the author covers a nice breadth topics, so the book rarely drags.



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