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

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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. 4 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. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

    I'll admit to being a bit of a Don Lemon fangirl...I love watching his show. He's brought the same candor and passion to This Is the Fire - the result is a compulsively readable and ultimately hopeful lesson on some of the reasons we find ourselves in the present race situation. Though I'm Canadian, I find many of the same issues here (we say we're different, but are we really that different?). One of the most impactful things I believe we can all do is to educate ourselves and stop the denials I'll admit to being a bit of a Don Lemon fangirl...I love watching his show. He's brought the same candor and passion to This Is the Fire - the result is a compulsively readable and ultimately hopeful lesson on some of the reasons we find ourselves in the present race situation. Though I'm Canadian, I find many of the same issues here (we say we're different, but are we really that different?). One of the most impactful things I believe we can all do is to educate ourselves and stop the denials - it's not doing us any good. As a reader, I'm reading whatever I can to educate myself. This was a most worthwhile read, giving me lots to think about. 5 ★

  7. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Chickey

    Moving book. We all need to see, really see and understand, things from another's point of view. I have read many books this past year as I try to process all of the needless deaths of young men and women of color. I try to look at history and learn from it. But it is books like this that help me to understand better. I have read Baldwin's novels, and I love that Lemon adeptly, beautifully, was able to pay tribute to Baldwin while creating his own "story" to tell for us to hear and to process. Moving book. We all need to see, really see and understand, things from another's point of view. I have read many books this past year as I try to process all of the needless deaths of young men and women of color. I try to look at history and learn from it. But it is books like this that help me to understand better. I have read Baldwin's novels, and I love that Lemon adeptly, beautifully, was able to pay tribute to Baldwin while creating his own "story" to tell for us to hear and to process.

  8. 5 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Berlinger

    Excellent analysis of our current racial state and how to step forward.

  10. 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!

  11. 5 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Charlee Bailey

    This is the best non-fiction book I've ever read! Since its about current events and the current lives of African American's and largely because I'm directly impacted, because I am a black woman, it was a life changing read for me. I am not angry, I understand that this is present and future history. But I've lived this history for 71 years and having that presented in a way that connects all the dots, makes you stop and assess who you are. I purchased this book because, I was interested in Mr. L This is the best non-fiction book I've ever read! Since its about current events and the current lives of African American's and largely because I'm directly impacted, because I am a black woman, it was a life changing read for me. I am not angry, I understand that this is present and future history. But I've lived this history for 71 years and having that presented in a way that connects all the dots, makes you stop and assess who you are. I purchased this book because, I was interested in Mr. Lemon's POV. I had to read a chapter at a time because it was so hard to read. Our history has never been great, but I learned things that I had never read and you become angry at the injustice of it. This is not a long book, with all the big words some authors use when the subject is weighty. Mr. Lemon provides the information and his viewpoint, with direct satements of fact. I like that it was part family history; part African American history and current status and infomation on our people in this country. He doesn't pull any punches and his facts, perspective and view point are clear and direct. He knows where we are in this country, at this time and he clearly explains how and why this is happening and what may be the most likely result of current events and past events. I was surprised at the history he provided on the treatment of African Americans in pre-civil war; post-civil-war and current day. I agree with his assessment. His voice is clear and his information is not disputable. Families who had slaves and considered them "livestock" have a lot to answer for. So does Washington, D.C.; all of this should have been settled years ago. Than you Mr. Lemon for a clear and direct message, that is easy to understand, hard to read and definitely will stir things up, and muddy the waters. Hopefully the usual same old stuff will be changed. I told everyone I know how important it is to read this book. Hopefully more people will read it!

  13. 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.

  14. 4 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ronnie

    I first heard about this book while listening to CNN and there was an ad about Don Lemons' book. I was fortunate to be able to get it through the Leominster Public library which I am forever indebted to. To me this book is a must read much like the two books by Wilkerson. Along with the book "Hillbilly Elegy". With those three is also included the two books by Edward Ball. And then there is Amistad. This compendium of literature is the best engrossment of what has happened and will happen. A rec I first heard about this book while listening to CNN and there was an ad about Don Lemons' book. I was fortunate to be able to get it through the Leominster Public library which I am forever indebted to. To me this book is a must read much like the two books by Wilkerson. Along with the book "Hillbilly Elegy". With those three is also included the two books by Edward Ball. And then there is Amistad. This compendium of literature is the best engrossment of what has happened and will happen. A reckoning. An acknowledgment . A look into the future ...that is tinged with the past. I didn't know what to expect when I opened it up. But believe me , to was mesmerizing. There were parts that I was transported to the past like in Balls' books....Wilkersons' et al. He's right. It takes and it took a lot of energy and time to cajole and bully the enslaved to not engage in revolting. Simply to not lose their place. The focus of the abducted/enslaved was to enriched the European who had arrived. At the cost of lives of blacks/amerindians/asians that helped enrichen those in power.Once again I repeat when I was in the Army I read "Trespass" . I still have that copy. The author wrote about movements to carve a black america and a indian america in the middle of the us and the controversy that it enticed. Along with that there was the mention of Marcus Garvey and how people white and black made fun of him...along with the concepts of"back to africa movement". This has stayed with me simply because America as I know it was founded on the backs of otherness. Like Don writes, it is a work in progress....to make it a more perfect union. I liked this book. I hope others will be able to find the time to read it.

  16. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really enjoyed this book and don lemons point of view. Highlights: • “In 2016, Donald Trump is exactly the president we deserved and probably the president we needed in the way you need symptoms to alert you to a disease. Racism is a cancer that has been metastasizing throughout this land ever since Columbus showed up.” • “Jesus said the truth would set you free. He never said you had to like it.” • The comparison to the Louisiana purchase to someone “buying” the Chrysler building and then kickin I really enjoyed this book and don lemons point of view. Highlights: • “In 2016, Donald Trump is exactly the president we deserved and probably the president we needed in the way you need symptoms to alert you to a disease. Racism is a cancer that has been metastasizing throughout this land ever since Columbus showed up.” • “Jesus said the truth would set you free. He never said you had to like it.” • The comparison to the Louisiana purchase to someone “buying” the Chrysler building and then kicking the current occupants down the elevator shaft to get them out was so fucking on point. • If punitive damages is what it takes to get white people to realize it’s not in their tax payer interests to let policies to continue. So be it. [My opinion] • Media made it possible for (Tyler Perry) to write his own ticket. She’s the bridge between gone with the wind and black panther. • “No one long’s for the bad old days of segregation, but at least there was no pretense about it. “ • Caste system: who belongs where India = religion 3rd reicht = faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other marginalizing factors. (Takes inspiration from us Jim Crow) Us = color coding • During pandemic can do dramatic lifestyle change. Now must wield it for good and change. And finally: “I don’t know how people managed it [the first presidential debate] without strong drinks and support animals”. Sir we had both.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Chosen as the "nonfiction book about anti-racism" for the Read Harder Challenge; I just read about it in the NYTimes Book Review and wanted something different than the standard list of anti-racist books that have made the rounds since last summer. Don Lemon is the anchor of CNN Tonight; this book blends his experiences as a Black, openly gay journalist with commentary on the events of 2020 as Covid ravaged the country and people grappled with the death of George Floyd and continued violence aga Chosen as the "nonfiction book about anti-racism" for the Read Harder Challenge; I just read about it in the NYTimes Book Review and wanted something different than the standard list of anti-racist books that have made the rounds since last summer. Don Lemon is the anchor of CNN Tonight; this book blends his experiences as a Black, openly gay journalist with commentary on the events of 2020 as Covid ravaged the country and people grappled with the death of George Floyd and continued violence against Black lives. It was very strange to read a physical book about something so present - usually that ground is covered by essays, articles, and podcasts. There's a permanency to a book that gives it more gravitas, which is maybe what the author and publisher intended. Lemon reflections on stories he's covered the past decade or so, as, on the one hand, the spark of Black Lives Matter ignited and, on the other, the Trump brand of white supremacy maintained a chokehold on government and policy. His musings are direct and well-articulated; much of what he writes, I have felt. The past year has given us many reasons to be down, but Lemon's book has an undercurrent of hope and optimism; change is slow to come but, once on a trajectory, it's impossible to stop. In this, Lemon shares the evidence that he believes makes this, joyfully, true.

  19. 4 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

    I don’t remember how I originally heard about this book. When I reserved a copy at the library they only had an audio copy—a style I typically don’t care for. But this version is narrated by the author and is so much more passionate therefore than I could probably render during my reading. There is not a lot more new insight here than what is written by Ta-Nesi Coats in “We were eight years in power’. One insight that was novel for me was the characterization of the African-American experience a I don’t remember how I originally heard about this book. When I reserved a copy at the library they only had an audio copy—a style I typically don’t care for. But this version is narrated by the author and is so much more passionate therefore than I could probably render during my reading. There is not a lot more new insight here than what is written by Ta-Nesi Coats in “We were eight years in power’. One insight that was novel for me was the characterization of the African-American experience as the Caste system in America. It’s an interesting perspective to contemplate and as Lemon notes, takes the sting out of words like racist or racism. But I’m not so sure the sting should be removed, because then the responsibility for propagating the racist system in America becomes ignored. The end of the book is hopeful, discussing the increase in mixed race unions and children. But I’ll confess I’m skeptical about his solutions for a more perfect union, because I’m far too cynical about the possibility of rational thought in American politics.

  23. 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Evan Quade

    Don Lemon is my favorite news anchor. I tune in to him on CNN Tonight for a half hour to hear his take on current events until he then proceeds to interviewing people. Don is very insightful, he is serious, he is honest, he understands the concept of developments throughout the world. Now following the events in the wakes of police brutality among the black community, shooting down unarmed black folks, including the infamous murder of George Floyd in the hands of Minneapolis police (thank the Go Don Lemon is my favorite news anchor. I tune in to him on CNN Tonight for a half hour to hear his take on current events until he then proceeds to interviewing people. Don is very insightful, he is serious, he is honest, he understands the concept of developments throughout the world. Now following the events in the wakes of police brutality among the black community, shooting down unarmed black folks, including the infamous murder of George Floyd in the hands of Minneapolis police (thank the Goddess the former officer was convicted!) Don reflects on the ongoing battle against racism in his book bringing more into the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement by reflecting his story of his ancestry and what sparked such a flame. I was emotional and touched from everything he told in the book. This is where, as that supporter of the equality, I come and say: Don't be silent. This is the fire, and now we must reduce the injustice down to the ashes and be united.

  25. 5 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Godbout

    “”No more water for the fire next time. We’re in the fire and I think we don’t have any more fires. So we need to put this one out. We need to deal with this one.” James Baldwin - “The Fire Next Time” Don Lemon opens his book, “This is the Fire”, with a powerful letter to his nephew. The letter is dated May 25, 2020, the day that George Floyd was murdered in America. James Baldwin opens his book, written in 1963 on the 100th Anniversary of Emancipation, with a powerful letter to his nephew. Both d “”No more water for the fire next time. We’re in the fire and I think we don’t have any more fires. So we need to put this one out. We need to deal with this one.” James Baldwin - “The Fire Next Time” Don Lemon opens his book, “This is the Fire”, with a powerful letter to his nephew. The letter is dated May 25, 2020, the day that George Floyd was murdered in America. James Baldwin opens his book, written in 1963 on the 100th Anniversary of Emancipation, with a powerful letter to his nephew. Both draw back the curtain on 400 years of racial inequality in America. Lemon’s book, although edgy at times, offers hope and acts as a springboard for a call to change. He believes that the important elements of social change are: rage/anger, vision, compassion, solidarity and empathy. Very relevant. Very powerful read. 4.5 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom Holehan

    Watching the erudite Don Lemon beginning each evening as anchor of CNN Tonight with "Don's Take", his opening monologue, you often get the feeling that this fiercely intelligent and passionate man is speaking directly to you. Reading his new book I felt the same way. A slim volume just under 200 pages, Lemon details with clarity and purpose a brief history of how racism has evolved in this country and his ideas on how we can change the narrative step by step. Some of the best parts of this slick Watching the erudite Don Lemon beginning each evening as anchor of CNN Tonight with "Don's Take", his opening monologue, you often get the feeling that this fiercely intelligent and passionate man is speaking directly to you. Reading his new book I felt the same way. A slim volume just under 200 pages, Lemon details with clarity and purpose a brief history of how racism has evolved in this country and his ideas on how we can change the narrative step by step. Some of the best parts of this slick but sincere work are Lemon's personal stories- his close family ties, the death of his beloved sister, his coming out and new relationship with a white man. This isn't an angry polemic, but a calm and reasonable plea from a man you can trust. If you're already a fan of Mr. Lemon, THIS IS THE FIRE will confirm your support.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I love watching Don Lemon on CNN (especially in the few minutes before his show when he's talking with Chris Cuomo), so I was excited when I heard he had written a book. As tough as this subject matter in this book was, it was definitely a necessary read. I think his stories of childhood really helped elaborate his talking points. Most of the time, if I read a book about racism/anti-racism, I have a hard time getting through it all because it's just such a heavy topic with trauma after trauma af I love watching Don Lemon on CNN (especially in the few minutes before his show when he's talking with Chris Cuomo), so I was excited when I heard he had written a book. As tough as this subject matter in this book was, it was definitely a necessary read. I think his stories of childhood really helped elaborate his talking points. Most of the time, if I read a book about racism/anti-racism, I have a hard time getting through it all because it's just such a heavy topic with trauma after trauma after trauma. But I found myself wanting to read more and more of this one and I ended up flying through it. I think it was Don's writing style. I also enjoyed the appendix at the end of the book with other books and resources to check out and I will absolutely be looking into those as well!

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