Blood Rituals: Consequences of Slavery in Two American Centuries, by Orlando Patterson
The title of Orlando Patterson’s book refers most immediately to the racially motivated lynchings in the old South, which he discusses in the second of the three interlocking essays that make up the text. But it also may speak sharply to the quasi-ritualistic categories in which current ideological debates on race and cultural are embedded. Both old-line liberals and conservatives will object strongly to many of Patterson’s claims, and few who are seriously interested in the problems he confronts will be entirely comfortable with what he says. Everyone, however, should find his book challenging and helpful.