Book Reviews

Review: Four Hundred Souls edited by. Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain

Having adored Stamped, I knew I had to make sure to add all Kendi’s future projects to my TBR. Four Hundred Souls is an epic undertaking which explodes in fabulous colors. I listened to this via audio, which I would whole heartedly recommend! Keep reading this book review to see all my rambling praise.


Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins with the arrival of twenty enslaved Ndongo people on the shores of the British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower.

In eighty chronological chapters, the book charts the tragic and triumphant four-hundred-year history of Black American experience in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty.

Contributors include some of the best-known scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America who together bring to vivid life countless new facets to the drama of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, cultural oppression and world-changing artistic, literary and musical creativity. In these pages are dozens of extraordinary lives and personalities, rescued from the archives and restored to their rightful place in America’s narrative, as well as the ghosts of millions more.

Four Hundred Souls is an essential work of story-telling and reclamation that redefines America and changes our notion of how history is written.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Four Hundred Souls tackles the history of Black America. The injustices, ways it’s been constructed, obscured, and oppressed. Their defenses, the ways it’s been shaped, and their efforts to reclaim their history. The audio book, which I would highly recommend features a full cast recording. This unique presentation lends emotion, character, and strength to their words. It brings the words alive and feels like conversations directly to the listener. I cannot summarize the scope of Four Hundred Souls or all the things I learned while listening.

A community of constant (re)imagining, (re)invention, and (re)assertion of their freedom and rights. A history of struggle, celebration, and production against a constant onslaught. It is lyrical and gripping, the ways it details the construction of racial purity and fears. Educating, moving, and profound, if you loved Stamped this is a must read. It’s not only a historical portrayal of what has been forgotten, each chapter also details people’s perspectives. The voices behind history.

Four Hundred Souls examines the systemic, historical, and pervasive ways the current institutions trace their roots back. Illustrating the necessity for recognizing the past, not just “moving forwards” Four Hundred Souls should absolutely be mandatory reading. Find Four Hundred Souls on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound,,, Google Play & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite non-fiction read that you’d recommend?

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