Class Notes

Posing as Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene

A “must read for thinking leftists” (Katha Pollitt of The Nation) from one of America’s most insightful intellectuals

Hailed by Publishers Weekly for its “forceful” and “bracing opinions on race and politics,” Class Notes is critic Adolph Reed Jr.’s latest blast of clear thinking on matters of race, class, and other American dilemmas. The book begins with a consideration of the theoretical and practical strategies of the U.S. left over the last three decades: Reed argues against the solipsistic approaches of cultural or identity politics, and in favor of class-based political interpretation and action.

Class Notes moves on to tackle race relations, ethnic studies, family values, welfare reform, the so-called underclass, and black public intellectuals in essays called “head-spinning” and “brilliantly executed” by David Levering Lewis.

Adolph Reed Jr. has earned a national reputation for his controversial evaluations of American politics. These essays illustrate why people like Katha Pollitt consider Reed “the smartest person of any race, class, or gender writing on race, class, and gender.”


“Everything [Reed] writes is informed by a strong historical memory of a time when there was a ‘Movement’ and when the distance between rhetoric and conviction was much less than it is now.”
—Christopher Hitchens, The New York Times Book Review
“Opening Adolph Reed’s Class Notes is like boarding a roller coaster. What follows is an opinionated, headspinning loop, brilliantly executed, through the controversies of the recent past and immediate future. I strongly recommend taking the ride.”
—David Levering Lewis, author of W. E. B. DuBois: Biography of a Race, 1868–1919, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize in Biography
“Brutally frank. . . . This book is definitely not your father’s old mobilization rhetoric.”
—Bill Quigley, professor of law, Loyola University
Class Notes sparkles with wit and wisdom. Reed’s essay on the political and intellectual left since the 1960s is the best analysis of American radicalism in print.”
—Judith Stein, professor of history, The City University of New York

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