While the racial polarity over the O. J. Simpson trial was powerful and dramatic, there are far deeper and wider differences over Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. It is no exaggeration to say that since the Million Man March, Farrakhan has become perhaps the most respected and admired American black man among his fellow blacks_and the most feared and despised black man by whites in America. In her new book, Looking for Farrakhan, Florence Levinsohn offers a searching biographical portrait of the man behind the myth. Here is a man far more complex, far more dangerous than the one seen in ten-second sound bites on the evening news. While Ms. Levinsohn is unsparing in her descriptions of FarrakhanOs bigotry, she shows that he is a religious zealot who sees himself in a long tradition of black saviors, who sense white hostility everywhere_and is often right. She explores FarrakhanOs impact as an agent of anti-Semitism, and suggests that the root beliefs of Farrakhan and the Nation may illuminate some of the tensions now buried in white and black mutual anger.
Looking for Farrakhan is a thoughtful, revealing appraisal of perhaps the most enigmatic figure on the American political scene.
Florence H. Levinsohn was an independent journalist who wrote widely on politics and urban affairs. Her books include Harold Washington: A Political Biography; School Desegregation: Shadow and Substance; and, most recently, Belgrade: Among the Serbs.
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