Title:  Soul on Ice

Author:  Eldridge Cleaver

Genre:  Memoir, Essays


Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver is a memoir and collection of essays originally written in Folsom State Prison in 1965, and published three years later in 1968. In this time of Black Lives Matter it is a book all teens should read.

The book is divided into four sections. They cover the author’s time in prison and his crimes. His coming to a knowledge of who he is as a black man. His romantic interest in his lawyer. What it means to be black and have your own sexual identity.

The first two sections cover material still relevant today. People expected Eldridge Cleaver to be apologetic about his crimes. He, however, pointed out that those who expected this were rich, fat, and supporting a war against the Vietnamese who were starving and terrified. The greater crimes of the rich, he claimed, balanced out his crimes and drug use.

However, he also longed to be clean of drugs and to learn more about black nationalism and communist politics. He felt that being black caused him to have a lesser place in society which was unfair.

These problems of black being treated as less than white in the workplace and in society still resonate today. The wars fought by our rich nation against impoverished nations still exists. The idea that black men are viewed differently if they have sexual attraction to white women still exists.

This book opened my eyes to how much hasn’t changed in 55 years. It gave me a feeling that I must do my part to bring more change.

Reviewer: LadyShay

Age: 14

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