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In an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, Lemon shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them. Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In d In an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, Lemon shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them. Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In doing so, Lemon offers a searing and poetic ultimatum to America. He visits the slave port where a direct ancestor was shackled and shipped to America. He recalls a slave uprising in Louisiana, just a few miles from his birthplace. And he takes us to the heart of the 2020 protests in New York City. As he writes to his young nephew: We must resist racism every single day. We must resist it with love.


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In an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, Lemon shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them. Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In d In an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, Lemon shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them. Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In doing so, Lemon offers a searing and poetic ultimatum to America. He visits the slave port where a direct ancestor was shackled and shipped to America. He recalls a slave uprising in Louisiana, just a few miles from his birthplace. And he takes us to the heart of the 2020 protests in New York City. As he writes to his young nephew: We must resist racism every single day. We must resist it with love.

30 review for This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Hamel

    An Eloquent Vital Book I do watch Don Lemon on CNN a few times per week. I enjoy his themes of the night, usually appropriate to the political or possibly social news of the current day or week. I relish his repartee between Chris Cuomo and himself. They provide a good segue into Lemon’s late-night show. This book, like so many, discusses our nation’s ongoing racism. Lemon’s remarkable prose piqued my interest immediately. His sentences flow one into the other and he is saying something. It’s not An Eloquent Vital Book I do watch Don Lemon on CNN a few times per week. I enjoy his themes of the night, usually appropriate to the political or possibly social news of the current day or week. I relish his repartee between Chris Cuomo and himself. They provide a good segue into Lemon’s late-night show. This book, like so many, discusses our nation’s ongoing racism. Lemon’s remarkable prose piqued my interest immediately. His sentences flow one into the other and he is saying something. It’s not banter. Similar to James Baldwin, he opens his book with a letter to his nephew, he evokes a sorrowful pitch to his words. Alluding to the death of George Floyd, he reflects on his own outrage. I agree that racism has been present in this country since Columbus met the American Indians. We have not had much progress, some, but not enough. Lemon more than alludes to our white supremacist President Trump. He gave permission for racism to rear its ugly head before he took office. “I never met David Duke.” Despite the political stance, Lemon speaks to the reader about his family and his partner, Tim. The death of his beloved sister, Leisa in 2018 was a grief-stricken time. I looked up her accidental drowning and read the most brutal comments from racists and Trumpers, I imagine.. Their personal cruelty was more than despicable. Lemon offers a tiny bit of hope. If the country or large federations can no longer ignore a problem, realistic ideas may arise. He didn’t really add more information or definitive solutions to the blatant racism in our politics or lifestyles. But his prose and vocabulary are eloquent and it is worth reading every word. My gratitude to NetGalley and Little Brown for providing me with this pre-published book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    First and foremost - Thank you Little Brown and Company and Don Lemon for this wonderful new addition entitled, "This Is The Fire." This is a book with more than just a story to tell because it's a revolution, a spark for change, a time to get up and have your voices heard not just through action but necessary and needed legislation. We cannot join hands and become united until we address our differences and come together to form a more perfect union. Much like marriage we are in this together, we First and foremost - Thank you Little Brown and Company and Don Lemon for this wonderful new addition entitled, "This Is The Fire." This is a book with more than just a story to tell because it's a revolution, a spark for change, a time to get up and have your voices heard not just through action but necessary and needed legislation. We cannot join hands and become united until we address our differences and come together to form a more perfect union. Much like marriage we are in this together, we cannot harp, we cannot yell, we cannot hate - We must love. Communication is key. Community policing is a must. Proactive not reactive is essential. Many act out of fear. Many retaliate. White supremacy works out of both. They are fearful of losing what they feel is their God given right via their Constitution without acknowledging the death, destruction, and abuse of power upon those less fortunate and those of color. I must note here: I'm a family of mixed race. Both my older brothers (two of three- as I'm the only daughter) have married outside their race. Their kids are 'Welcome' into my home any day of the week. "My Casa is their Casa." I couldn't care less what race, what nationality (my brother's wife is Cuban decent the other St. Lucian) nor what economic or any other distinguishing characteristic they possess. You see when my brothers wanted to marry they asked for my father's blessing. In the same breath my father noted, "Do you love her?" It was that simple, the obvious answer was, "Yes." Children aren't born hating one another. We can and must do better. I've also married and happily divorced a malignant narcissist. I'm still trying to recover from the aftermath which takes years to heal from not just the abuse and the outward appeal but the inward and the financial damage. Bankrupt, Homeless, LT Unemployed, Zero Income, No Assets nor Credit, not a drop of Savings. My ex spouse even emptied our three kids college funds and then refused to pay child support after I gave up my career to raise our family. This is the world today- It's the "Hurray with Me-The Hell With You"- and Yes, I too as a white woman have been subjected to these alpha males, white supremacist, and ignoramas. I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania an area that cannot be pronounced (Wilkes-Barre) Scranton is my hometown. The birthplace of our 46th President Joe Biden. Yet, this area is well known for stagnancy, corruption, racism, sexism, misogyny, and more. It's impossible to even drive down the road without these white men hogging the road, spitting on my car, yelling profanities, mocking or terrorizing me and or my kids. I've had police pull up behind me and wait behind my car as I'm pulling out of my very own driveway. It's because I've spoken out. I've worked on the front lines of volunteering. I see the empty promises and broken dreams. Much of the same as our country. I was sold the Kool-Aid and fell for the con artist. We as a nation must know brainwashing, gaslighting, manipulation, threats, intimidation, fear, anger, sexism, racism, and more all stems from a certain group that are beneath us. They want our attention, they craze adulation, they seek praise for their work. Without that spotlight they're nothing. Do not feed the NARCS! They are toxic, dangerous, and operate from a false sense of self. Lacking in their own self they try to steal, conjure up, and claim the actions of others as their own. They'll take credit for work they themselves never performed while enticing others to do their dirty work for free. These enablers as we've seen over the last four years in particular are ruthless and worthless. Offering nothing but taking everything. It's the ME mentality as the Us vs. Them philosophy. We cannot change until we call these ill-fated and mentally unhinged individuals out. I'm in awe of your work and love watching CNN (at least during the free trial run I received at the start of the pandemic) as I'm in extreme poverty and just cancelled cable. Therefore, one day I shall hope that "Silence is no longer an option." As you noted many said Trump wasn't what we needed but as you and I know he spotlighted exactly what we are! I'm actually happy he was in office because up till this point nobody believed my story of survival nor my claims of abuse. Perhaps his actions can spotlight the danger that lies behind closed doors because he worked his magic for the entire world to see. God bless, stay safe, much love my friend!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Glenda Nelms

    This is the fire contains talking about Don Lemon's life growing up in Louisiana, the nation's history on racism, and lives of Black people. Very important book that everyone should read during these times in American history. We have a lot of work to do in taking action on hate and racism in this country and around the world. We must hold ourselves accountable in addressing racism in our communities. “Anger makes change happen.” “Solidarity makes change happen.” “Compassion makes change happen.” “ This is the fire contains talking about Don Lemon's life growing up in Louisiana, the nation's history on racism, and lives of Black people. Very important book that everyone should read during these times in American history. We have a lot of work to do in taking action on hate and racism in this country and around the world. We must hold ourselves accountable in addressing racism in our communities. “Anger makes change happen.” “Solidarity makes change happen.” “Compassion makes change happen.” “Vision makes change happen.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    In his own unique conversational style, Don Lemon weaves current and past Black History events into his own story. #ThisIsTheFire is informs, teaches, and challenges the reader. #NetGalley

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peacejanz

    I am a fan of Don Lemon. I find him well-spoken, knowledgeable about his subject and a commentator about abuse of law, white racism and things that seem to be going wrong in my country. And he is, like me, a hopeless liberal - and always looking for the good, for ways to help. This book was exactly what I expected. Lemon points out situations, places, interactions that I never realized were racial in tone. I have been aware of race for decades, have worked to educate myself to be an anti-racist, I am a fan of Don Lemon. I find him well-spoken, knowledgeable about his subject and a commentator about abuse of law, white racism and things that seem to be going wrong in my country. And he is, like me, a hopeless liberal - and always looking for the good, for ways to help. This book was exactly what I expected. Lemon points out situations, places, interactions that I never realized were racial in tone. I have been aware of race for decades, have worked to educate myself to be an anti-racist, and work in my community to regard everyone as a human being, rather than a member of a race. Lemon wrote about situations that I never realized. I never dreamed they happen. The good thing is that he is a good writer, a good speaker, and we get a great view of his image of family. Parts of this book also introduce you to the typical Black family - it is not what I grew up with. Of course, my parents did not have to warn me about the potential abuse I would receive because of the color of my skin. A good book and a good book to use for educating others. Ideal for book groups or for introducing the topic of racism to someone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Lemon writes with passion and counsel. He’s well lettered-something that doesn’t always come across well from many of the folks in news anchors chairs these days. His admitted privileged access as CNN anchor and-as he puts it-five decades of ass-kicking and keen observation, combine to deliver a non-partisan and humanitarian perspective to understanding this country’s roots in racism, with recent context provided via the calamity that was 2020. It’s a collection of essays that is peppered with i Lemon writes with passion and counsel. He’s well lettered-something that doesn’t always come across well from many of the folks in news anchors chairs these days. His admitted privileged access as CNN anchor and-as he puts it-five decades of ass-kicking and keen observation, combine to deliver a non-partisan and humanitarian perspective to understanding this country’s roots in racism, with recent context provided via the calamity that was 2020. It’s a collection of essays that is peppered with interesting personal anecdotes, history, and funny turn-of-phrases, making it warm and conversational yet provocative all at the same time. Recommended; nice resource list & bibliography.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Sisney

    I watch MSNBC more than I do CNN, but Mr. Lemon is my favorite of the CNN anchors and not just because he’s black. I like his common sense approach to issues, so I assumed I would enjoy his book. For the most part, I did. I especially liked the way he structured it, beginning and ending with allusions to James Baldwin’s classic essay THE FIRE NEXT TIME. My favorite passages in the book dealt with his personal experience (his trip to Africa with his mother, his sister’s death, his reporting about I watch MSNBC more than I do CNN, but Mr. Lemon is my favorite of the CNN anchors and not just because he’s black. I like his common sense approach to issues, so I assumed I would enjoy his book. For the most part, I did. I especially liked the way he structured it, beginning and ending with allusions to James Baldwin’s classic essay THE FIRE NEXT TIME. My favorite passages in the book dealt with his personal experience (his trip to Africa with his mother, his sister’s death, his reporting about the first Presidential debate and the announcement that Trump had Covid). I also liked the way he extended the racism is like the Covid virus metaphor, describing just how the body fights a virus and connecting it to the fight against racism. My occasional problems with the book are the same problems I have with news commentators in general—misinformation, a lack of self-awareness, and promotion of themselves and/or friends and family. I thought that Lemon had misinformed his readers about how much money Jacob Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse received because I knew that Rittenhouse had collected over two million dollars and wasn’t aware that the Blake family had collected that much. I realized after some research on Google that Rittenhouse’s collection took longer, so at the time Lemon wrote that section of the book his numbers were probably accurate. However, he was totally wrong in describing Emmett Till’s murder. We now describe lynching differently from the way we did in the 20th Century and earlier. Many people, for instance, are calling what Chauvin did to Floyd a lynching. But Till wasn’t killed by a lynch mob. He was killed by two men. That kind of mistake undermines the credibility of a person whose job is to report the facts. I was also disappointed (but as we black people have said too often about Trump and about juries who set killer cops free) not surprised that Lemon didn’t take any responsibility for promoting Trump on his show. Why didn’t CNN and the other stations ban Trump for his racist birther lies the way Kathy Griffin was banned from CNN for a mildly tasteless picture and the way Matt Lauer was fired by NBC for whatever sexual misconduct he engaged in off camera? Does Lemon think Trump would have become President if he had been banned from television (in 2011) for his racist attack on the first half-black President? I was also disappointed (after recently hearing a great Lemon monologue that ended with “Us Too”) that he didn’t compare the METOO movement and the BlackLivesMatter movement. Why were the mostly white women in the METOO MOVEMENT treated better than the black female BLM leaders? Although I agreed with most of Lemon’s commentary on race and racism, I thought the discussion of blackface was superficial and wrong. There is a difference between a white comedian’s darkening his skin to play a black man he admires (like Billy Crystal and Jimmy Fallon) and minstrels blackening their face to ridicule blacks. If white people can’t darken their skin to play black folks is it wrong for blacks to whiten their skin (like the Wayans brothers, Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, and Arsenio Hall) to play white folks? And what about men playing women? Tyler as Madea? Flip as Geraldine? Come on, Lemon! Usually my problem with lists of references that cover an area where I have some expertise is that I can think of many more sources that weren’t included in the lists, but in this case I was annoyed that Lemon seemed to be just promoting people he liked. He even includes his fiancé’s podcast (with W. Kamau Bell) and his good friend, “brother” Chris Cuomo’s CNN show. Chris does discuss race more frequently than his MSNBC competitor Rachel Maddow, but I can think of at least six people on MSNBC and a couple besides Mr. Lemon on CNN who are much better at discussing race than the privileged Mr. Cuomo. But what annoyed me more than those plugs for friend and family was the inclusion of three books by Bob “I Just Woke Up To My Privilege In 2020 But Still Don’t Interview Women” Woodward. Come on, Lemon!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    I'd read Mr. Lemon's autobiography, Transparent, published around ten years ago, and this makes reference to events that were covered more thoroughly in that book, and continues on. Like with James Baldwin's book The Fire Next Time, Don Lemon addresses the book to his nephew -- great-nephew in this case, I think. Mr. Lemon makes the occasional parenthetical aside to his fiance, Tim, also. This past couple of years I've watched quite a bit of late-night CNN, though I've needed to take breaks from I'd read Mr. Lemon's autobiography, Transparent, published around ten years ago, and this makes reference to events that were covered more thoroughly in that book, and continues on. Like with James Baldwin's book The Fire Next Time, Don Lemon addresses the book to his nephew -- great-nephew in this case, I think. Mr. Lemon makes the occasional parenthetical aside to his fiance, Tim, also. This past couple of years I've watched quite a bit of late-night CNN, though I've needed to take breaks from the news now and then. I recognized that I'd seen several of the segments of Mr. Lemon's show that he recounts in the book. A number of times here, I thought, "He writes like he talks." Mr. Lemon did add in more of the way the young people nowadays talk than I've noticed on the program. For example, "Because gravity." It makes sense in context, but seemed more like the way a teen or twenty-something would use language. Or it could be that even as a 50-something, he's way more hip to the way the newer generations express themselves than I am as someone a few years younger and definitely not hip about the ways of Generation Y, or the Millennials, etc. He also quotes segments from his podcast, "Silence Is Not an Option." I heard the discussion he had with his mother about old movies and the roles that people of color were limited to. And I knew about the use of blackface and "yellowface" and other appropriations of race that white actors used. There were things I didn't know, also. I believe the premises about racism that Mr. Lemon went over. I'm well aware that there's this yearning on the part of some white people to believe that not all of their fellow white people who align themselves with more open white supremacists, or deny that they have white privilege, or whine that it's racist to call them a racist, are racists. It's very interwoven into American culture, kind of the default setting, I've heard people say, for white people. It's a privilege to choose not to see this, to say, "I like so-and-so's policies, but he's not a racist/I'm not a racist." The person is still choosing the white supremacist side of the equation, because they can. They're indicating that they're okay with a worldview that dehumanizes others. Sure, it can be an uncomfortable realization, but sometimes one has to deal with feeling discomfort. I'd rather try to be more aware of the world than live in some kind of active denial. I've experienced too many smug and self-satisfied authority figures -- some more like authoritarian figures -- trying to force me to do things for me to feel like it would be right to give up having questions and simply follow the people because they say so. I have issues with people who try to gaslight me. I'm not sure if I'm quite the target audience, or more towards being part of the choir. Certainly a recommended read, for white people who can accept feeling rather discomfited and question some of their longtime assumptions. If one absolutely refuses to participate in an uncomfortable discussion -- uncomfortable for them -- you're probably not the target audience. And I'd really rather not listen when you start a sentence, "I don't want to sound like a racist, but..." If that's how it starts, it's not something I want to hear, trust me. I got a kick out of Mr. Lemon and Chris Cuomo giggling over the article that satirically referred to Mr. Lemon as "openly black." Those two are too much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie74

    First off just to state .... love Don Lemon and usually catch his show ( and CC ) most nights.  Picked up my book yesterday and started to read around 10pm and now just over appr  4 hours put in of actual time reading ... I am finished.    I am  estimating that if you are up on his show or AC / CC shows,  as well as relevant history, current and past,  appr 60% of the book is "been there done that" ..... nothing new. I did pass over a paragraph or page here or there.  We get to the other appr 40% First off just to state .... love Don Lemon and usually catch his show ( and CC ) most nights.  Picked up my book yesterday and started to read around 10pm and now just over appr  4 hours put in of actual time reading ... I am finished.    I am  estimating that if you are up on his show or AC / CC shows,  as well as relevant history, current and past,  appr 60% of the book is "been there done that" ..... nothing new. I did pass over a paragraph or page here or there.  We get to the other appr 40% of his past / current history and that's where it is interesting and reading intently, jotting notes down for future reference.   Interesting stories  about his blood family, Mom, Dad and his sisters, the trip to Africa he and his mother did together for a CNN profile (got to find it somewhere .. on YouTube maybe)?   Very little mentioned of his BMF Chris which I was also hoping a bit for.  Perhaps that was in "Transparent" from 2011.  Some  snippets about his fiance Tim and their home and things that have happened in his day to day life and past.  Surprise .... they have a boat! I have to admit I loved  the references on how he takes movies of the past with black artists in them ... GWTW and Imitation of Life (1934 version) among two, also how much better could "The Color Purple" have been if a black director was involved. IMO ... probably wouldn't have been done.  Also product design containers (cereal) or commercials which are now very noticable.   There are hardly any commercials on tv now that have either a full White/Black/Asian or whatever family ... they are all mixed.   Lots of quotes or references to other authors about how to achieve the changes that are required to make lives better for all to live a more equalized life.   For the 40% I give it a 5 rating but is it my fault or his that the other 60% is all pretty well known facts.  I think a 4 is fair.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon CNN Published March 16, 2021 <3 There are array of topics covered in this passion fueled account of the past, present and future of the world according to #DonLemon. I LOL and i cringed from the reminders of the cruelty that some people are capable of. From Enslavement during the Atlantic Slave Trade to Emmet Till to the BLM Movement... If you are not already pissed off about the ugliness of racism... His emotions broke several This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon CNN Published March 16, 2021 <3 There are array of topics covered in this passion fueled account of the past, present and future of the world according to #DonLemon. I LOL and i cringed from the reminders of the cruelty that some people are capable of. From Enslavement during the Atlantic Slave Trade to Emmet Till to the BLM Movement... If you are not already pissed off about the ugliness of racism... His emotions broke several times during the narration of book... This book will definitely move you as well. So well done. <3 Don Lemon brings his vast audience and experience as a reporter and a Black man to today's most urgent question: How can we end racism in America in our lifetimes? The host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon is more popular than ever. As America's only Black prime-time anchor, Lemon and his daily monologues on racism and antiracism, on the failures of the Trump administration and of so many of our leaders, and on America's systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans. Now, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, he shows us all how deep our problems lie and what we can do to begin to fix them. Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In doing so, Lemon offers a searing and poetic ultimatum to America. He visits the slave port where a direct ancestor was shackled and shipped to America. He recalls a slave uprising in Louisiana, just a few miles from his birthplace. And he takes us to the heart of the 2020 protests in New York City. As he writes to his young nephew: We must resist racism every single day. We must resist it with love.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    So, Don Lemon writes how he speaks. And if you've ever watched Don Lemon on CNN, he speaks quite well. In fact... I would say that it was even more impressive than expected. He has a sizeable vocabulary and can certainly turn a phrase. There's a certain lyrical quality to his writing that makes it very engaging. Onto the content: the book is about systemic racism in the United States plus Lemon's own experiences. It's a rather short read, truth be told, and I would probably have enjoyed even mor So, Don Lemon writes how he speaks. And if you've ever watched Don Lemon on CNN, he speaks quite well. In fact... I would say that it was even more impressive than expected. He has a sizeable vocabulary and can certainly turn a phrase. There's a certain lyrical quality to his writing that makes it very engaging. Onto the content: the book is about systemic racism in the United States plus Lemon's own experiences. It's a rather short read, truth be told, and I would probably have enjoyed even more. It's a mix of historical events, modern day travesties, and personal anecdotes. I quite enjoyed highlights of his close relationship with his mother in those segments. You can really see their bond in his stories. The rest is reflections on where we are with the BLM movement and how we can forge ahead as a nation. I didn't think anything was particularly revelatory or new if you read/watch the news regularly (though admittedly I wasn't aware of all the extent of the brutality of the slave revolt he highlighted in one section), but I liked reading his thoughts on many topics including defunding the police and the role of Black artists in media. I will say that I think Lemon assumes his readers ARE aware of the news, because he isn't interested in recapping it all for you. There is an assumption about the knowledge of his readers in current events for the most part. This book is already popular (not sure how I snagged it so quickly) and deservedly so. I hope that Lemon continues to write more books in the future.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Romero

    Don Lemon, the anchor of CNN Tonight, is a very popular reporter who has the most conversational writing style I have ever seen. To watch him and to read his words are very much like having a conversation with a friend. Known for his monologues on racism, broken systems, and administrations that do more harm than good, this book seems even more personal. Showing us what is wrong, how wrong it is, and how we maybe can begin to repair what is broken. I enjoyed the beginning, which is a letter to his Don Lemon, the anchor of CNN Tonight, is a very popular reporter who has the most conversational writing style I have ever seen. To watch him and to read his words are very much like having a conversation with a friend. Known for his monologues on racism, broken systems, and administrations that do more harm than good, this book seems even more personal. Showing us what is wrong, how wrong it is, and how we maybe can begin to repair what is broken. I enjoyed the beginning, which is a letter to his black nephew. He talks about their slave ancestors, activists, politicians, and people he has met and interviewed. We hear about the slave port where his ancestor was shipped to America as a slave. He talks about his growing up and his experiences. Even the 2020 New York protests. The most important thing we can do is to resist racism every single day. EVERY DAY. With Love. Which is hard to do. I was so comfortable with this book. It honestly felt as if Lemon were talking to me about some really important issues in his famously calm and steady voice. I am from the deep south and understood everything he said. This has to stop or we will never be truly free people. Very impressed with his words. NetGalley/ March 16th, 2021 Little, Brown, and Company

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    So many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Don Lemon’s This Is the Fire before it’s 3/16/21 publication date! I was hooked from the first sentence; what an excellent read! Disclaimer before jumping into the review: I love politics and I happen to align with many beliefs Lemon reflects in this work so I am inherently biased. It read as though we were sitting down having a conversation about what has happened over the last few years in this country. His So many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Don Lemon’s This Is the Fire before it’s 3/16/21 publication date! I was hooked from the first sentence; what an excellent read! Disclaimer before jumping into the review: I love politics and I happen to align with many beliefs Lemon reflects in this work so I am inherently biased. It read as though we were sitting down having a conversation about what has happened over the last few years in this country. His detailing of the U.S.’s history of institutional racism and white supremacy was well researched and explained. His personal connections to the historical events enhanced the reader’s connection to the work. However, the biggest thing for me was Lemon’s writing style. I just felt like we were sitting in a room, having an honest and frank conversation about racism. I also loved his choices of references, from the great James Baldwin, to Isabel Wilkerson. I implore everyone to read this and then let’s get to the work that needs to be done. 5 stars, no question. I’ve already pre-ordered a hard copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    So many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Don Lemon’s This Is the Fire before it’s 3/16/21 publication date! I was hooked from the first sentence; what an excellent read! Disclaimer before jumping into the review: I love politics and I happen to align with many beliefs Lemon reflects in this work so I am inherently biased. It read as though we were sitting down having a conversation about what has happened over the last few years in this country. His So many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Don Lemon’s This Is the Fire before it’s 3/16/21 publication date! I was hooked from the first sentence; what an excellent read! Disclaimer before jumping into the review: I love politics and I happen to align with many beliefs Lemon reflects in this work so I am inherently biased. It read as though we were sitting down having a conversation about what has happened over the last few years in this country. His detailing of the U.S.’s history of institutional racism and white supremacy was well researched and explained. His personal connections to the historical events enhanced the reader’s connection to the work. However, the biggest thing for me was Lemon’s writing style. I just felt like we were sitting in a room, having an honest and frank conversation about racism. I also loved his choices of references, from the great James Baldwin, to Isabel Wilkerson. I implore everyone to read this and then let’s get to the work that needs to be done. 5 stars, no question. I’ve already pre-ordered a hard copy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Estahli

    Let the last next time be now! Perfect ending to a perfect book. Don weaves personal experience into historical content. So impressed with the writing style and his passion. I keep saying to myself”why did the work that came before have to come to this?” Why hasn’t racism been a thing of the past? Why does a Jewish woman brought up in the NJ suburbs still feel the pain of persecution? Why does everyone have to blame someone? Why does bad things that happen to people be someone else’s fault ? Inste Let the last next time be now! Perfect ending to a perfect book. Don weaves personal experience into historical content. So impressed with the writing style and his passion. I keep saying to myself”why did the work that came before have to come to this?” Why hasn’t racism been a thing of the past? Why does a Jewish woman brought up in the NJ suburbs still feel the pain of persecution? Why does everyone have to blame someone? Why does bad things that happen to people be someone else’s fault ? Instead of disagreeing on politics, religion or whatever, have a conversation instead of fighting, rioting, looting. The conversation needs to start at home, in schools, in church in therapy. Instead of wasting our tax dollars on people who don’t want to work right now because they are making more on unemployment, give them something to do to earn that money. Put money in education. Change minds. Have the conversation! Don’t just say we need to start there. Have it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anna Amato

    I can read 200 pages in a night. This is the exception; it is so full of historical and relevant information and so heartbreaking at the same time I had to read it over 4 days in the middle of my life, in the middle of the rash of murders this country is experiencing. Don Lemon is an incredible writer in addition to being one of the best journalists on CNN. I wasn't going to reveal any spoilers but when he explained how the Germans reached out to Americans for advice or tips in handling Jews and I can read 200 pages in a night. This is the exception; it is so full of historical and relevant information and so heartbreaking at the same time I had to read it over 4 days in the middle of my life, in the middle of the rash of murders this country is experiencing. Don Lemon is an incredible writer in addition to being one of the best journalists on CNN. I wasn't going to reveal any spoilers but when he explained how the Germans reached out to Americans for advice or tips in handling Jews and other undesirables my flesh crawled and my stomach roiled. We have so much to be proud of in this country but Jim Crow and aiding and teaching Nazis how to handle the Jewish solution is definitely not one of them. What we're experiencing right now and have been for hundreds of years is definitely something we should all be ashamed of.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This Is the Fire was well written, in a conversational style. I was interested to learn about Lemon's history growing up and his thoughts on racism. I especially liked the appendix at the end, listing other media to explore on this topic. I'm a bit ashamed to admit I have not read anything by James Baldwin, but I will be soon. It's amazing how often his work comes up in conversations and posts on my reading group site. I do agree with Lemon that a key component of changing the status quo is the This Is the Fire was well written, in a conversational style. I was interested to learn about Lemon's history growing up and his thoughts on racism. I especially liked the appendix at the end, listing other media to explore on this topic. I'm a bit ashamed to admit I have not read anything by James Baldwin, but I will be soon. It's amazing how often his work comes up in conversations and posts on my reading group site. I do agree with Lemon that a key component of changing the status quo is the 3 P's: policy, policing, and prosecuting. I'm hoping we are closer to Lemon's last line of the book, "Let the last next time be now." Thanks to Little, Brown and Company for an advanced copy of this book, won through a Goodreads giveaway.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donald Powell

    Don Lemon is clearly a very intelligent, well read, thoughtful person. He is very careful with his language in his direct assessment of history and our culture. This book is part of the volume of material in literature trying to move us to Love rather than Hate; to see our history in the light of truth rather than distorted lies. I am glad he relied upon the book CASTE. I agree with his assessment of that important book. Many other references were well selected and used. He makes the book persona Don Lemon is clearly a very intelligent, well read, thoughtful person. He is very careful with his language in his direct assessment of history and our culture. This book is part of the volume of material in literature trying to move us to Love rather than Hate; to see our history in the light of truth rather than distorted lies. I am glad he relied upon the book CASTE. I agree with his assessment of that important book. Many other references were well selected and used. He makes the book personal with much of his story, heartwarming and instilling hope. We all play a role while on this rock. CNN is lucky to have Don Lemon and we are lucky to have his book to add to our arsenal of what is becoming an important call to action, now.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Puglisi

    Really good thought provoking book. Told in conversational narrative. Personal. Honest. Engaging. Book starts off slow from the narrative perspective. Second half of the book really picks up and gets you into it. First half is good substantively just slow and lacking narratively. Stick to it because you appreciate the first half and what it is building to for thought and discussion later. The quote from Jacqueline Stewart, “If we can get people to embrace educating themselves rather than resisti Really good thought provoking book. Told in conversational narrative. Personal. Honest. Engaging. Book starts off slow from the narrative perspective. Second half of the book really picks up and gets you into it. First half is good substantively just slow and lacking narratively. Stick to it because you appreciate the first half and what it is building to for thought and discussion later. The quote from Jacqueline Stewart, “If we can get people to embrace educating themselves rather than resisting information that can disrupt their pleasure, then I think we could really get to some actual change that we need in our society” is perfect. Recommend.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Misty Gebhart

    I love the way this book is written! Shock, surprise, tears, and anger! I felt them all as we listened to his personal experiences and his views on current events. Actually this book said look it up at one point.. my husband and i pulled over and did just that! I suggest you do so too. I won’t give any of the details away please read for yourself. We listened to it while driving - finished in just a few trips in the car. We re-examined what we thought we knew about ourselves after listening- any I love the way this book is written! Shock, surprise, tears, and anger! I felt them all as we listened to his personal experiences and his views on current events. Actually this book said look it up at one point.. my husband and i pulled over and did just that! I suggest you do so too. I won’t give any of the details away please read for yourself. We listened to it while driving - finished in just a few trips in the car. We re-examined what we thought we knew about ourselves after listening- any book capable of helping you do that is well worth your time!

  21. 5 out of 5

    KELLY SILVEIRA

    Thank you to Little, Brown & Company for the ARC of this book (won via a Goodreads giveaway.) As a long time viewer of CNN Tonight, I thought I pretty much knew what to expect from Don Lemon's book. And, Mr. Lemon doesn't disappoint. Through personal stories and historic references, he's written a call to action for this country. Reading this book feels like sitting at a table with Mr. Lemon and having a personal conversation. Let's see if people listen. Thank you to Little, Brown & Company for the ARC of this book (won via a Goodreads giveaway.) As a long time viewer of CNN Tonight, I thought I pretty much knew what to expect from Don Lemon's book. And, Mr. Lemon doesn't disappoint. Through personal stories and historic references, he's written a call to action for this country. Reading this book feels like sitting at a table with Mr. Lemon and having a personal conversation. Let's see if people listen.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol Gallivan

    Sad but true. Sad because of our country’s history. True because we are a racist country. Emotional. I loved when he spoke about his husband Tim and his family. Especially his mother. He’s very lucky to still have his mother. I listened to the book and just wished somebody else had read it. I obviously like Don Lemon. I follow him on Instagram and watch him every evening on CNN. But I wish someone else had read the book

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Tower

    I would give this a 9.1 or maybe an 8.9. It's very good, but it really takes off in the second half. At first, I was disappointed as it read like a collection of material from Lemon's podcast and CNN reports. But then, he hits his stride. I love Don Lemon, and I think he has valuable things to say. This is valuable. He has inspired my to read James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME, which is my next read. I would give this a 9.1 or maybe an 8.9. It's very good, but it really takes off in the second half. At first, I was disappointed as it read like a collection of material from Lemon's podcast and CNN reports. But then, he hits his stride. I love Don Lemon, and I think he has valuable things to say. This is valuable. He has inspired my to read James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME, which is my next read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    Passionate criticism from a journalist with his finger on the pulse of racism in America. Not sure he really offered a solid 'solution' for changing the current state but he was definitely hopeful positive change is possible. "I need to believe we'll wake up, rise up and stay standing this time. My greatest fear is that the world will jade itself and grow numb. That the death rattle of a man that looks like you and me will no longer move the world to tears." Passionate criticism from a journalist with his finger on the pulse of racism in America. Not sure he really offered a solid 'solution' for changing the current state but he was definitely hopeful positive change is possible. "I need to believe we'll wake up, rise up and stay standing this time. My greatest fear is that the world will jade itself and grow numb. That the death rattle of a man that looks like you and me will no longer move the world to tears."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Miele

    It's basically a published version of his mindless ramblings you could have just watched on CNN for free. Lemon isn't a victim! If racism were truly such a horrible problem in America, Don's husband would be black. Don is a self-serving egotist. He makes fun of Christians and senior citizens and it is not funny. He never apologizes for his crass stereotyping. He virtue signals very hard because apparently he is more righteous than a of us combined! It's basically a published version of his mindless ramblings you could have just watched on CNN for free. Lemon isn't a victim! If racism were truly such a horrible problem in America, Don's husband would be black. Don is a self-serving egotist. He makes fun of Christians and senior citizens and it is not funny. He never apologizes for his crass stereotyping. He virtue signals very hard because apparently he is more righteous than a of us combined!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    An intelligent, logical, factual yet emotional look at racial issues. Don Lemon illustrates the ways that our divisive racism is more accurately caste-ism, and putting it in economic terms makes the problem much more potentially solvable. I admit, I do not really believe any news until I hear Don Lemon say it, and if anyone can lead us out of this mess and into the light, it is him. I read this in one sitting, and feel like letting out a big sigh.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Even though Don Lemon is not one of my favorite CNN anchors, this book captured my interest. He writes clearly and persuasively about the history of black Americans and the effects of racism, not only on them but on all of America. He says that Trump was a good thing that happened in America because it revealed the underbelly of racism. You don't know what you don't know and now we know. His last chapter "How Change Happens" is smart in its simplicity. Even though Don Lemon is not one of my favorite CNN anchors, this book captured my interest. He writes clearly and persuasively about the history of black Americans and the effects of racism, not only on them but on all of America. He says that Trump was a good thing that happened in America because it revealed the underbelly of racism. You don't know what you don't know and now we know. His last chapter "How Change Happens" is smart in its simplicity.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paul Womack

    Passionate, insightful, hopeful, realistic. Key places in the book involve bridges. We indeed have bridges to cross, and we (us white folk) need to acknowledge which side we started from and which side we wish to get to... and why, and with whom, and by when. Lemon mentions other books, movies, and such which can help us know where we started and become hopeful over where we can go.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tani Garberg

    This is a quick paced book filled with antidotes from Don Lemon’s life and from the lives of Black people. It has great ideas as to how to participate in the eradication of racism. Its going to take hard work and the work can never stop. I really want to do my best to help with this important cause. This book gave me some ways in which I can help. A good read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Loren

    Phenomenal! Don Lemon gives a historical timeline of the enslavement and unequal treatment of black people in colonial America through to today’s obvious result of white supremacy and racist policies built into our systems and institutions which continue to oppress POC. Silence is complicity and is not an option

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