NO WAY BUT THIS: In Search of Paul RobesonJEFF SPARROW Book Number: 88094 Product format: Paperback
The son of an escaped slave, Paul Robeson became a global African-American figure as a sportsman, scholar, actor who played Othello three times and above all as a singer with a voice of extraordinary resonance who excelled in both popular and classical music and remembered for 'Ol Man River. Robeson was a lifelong anti-Fascist, supporting the republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and encountering Nazism at first hand as he travelled through Germany in the thirties with his wife Essie and their white friend Marie. He fell foul of America's postwar McCarthyite persecution by his refusal to deny that he was a communist but his admiration for Stalin tarnished his later reputation. Robeson's father William became a minister of religion after escaping slavery, obtaining an academically prestigious degree in theology. Driven from his church by racism he became a humble ash-collector but he made sure that Paul went to Rutgers University, winning sporting accolades and joining the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. A career as a professional footballer followed, but when Robeson married the ambitious Essie he moved into acting and singing, becoming an important figure in the Harlem renaissance. A starring role in The Emperor Jones took him to London and the social circles of the Sitwells, T. S. Eliot and the Bloomsbury group. Robeson's marriage was damaged by his affair with Peggy Ashcroft who played Desdemona to his Othello, but Essie stayed with him, managing his career and supporting his politics. 292pp, paperback.
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