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Ellis Cose

Born: Chicago, Illinois
Connection to Illinois: Cose is a Chicago native. He began his career with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a columnist, editor and national correspondent.

Biography: Ellis Cose was a longtime columnist and contributing editor for Newsweek magazine, the former chairman of the editorial board of the New York Daily News and is the creator and director of Renewing American Democracy, an initiative of the University of Southern California, Northwestern, and Long Island University. He began his journalism career as a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and has been a contributor and press critic for Time magazine, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Journalism Education, and columnist and chief writer on management and workplace issues for USA Today. Cose has appeared on the Today show, Nightline, Dateline, ABC World News, Good Morning America, and a variety of other nationally televised and local programs. He has received fellowships or individual grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the University of California, among others, and has won numerous journalism awards. Cose is the author of The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America, Bone to Pick, The Envy of the World, the bestselling The Rage of a Privileged Class, and several other books.

  • The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America- Named one of Newsweek’s

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Bone to Pick: Of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Reparation, and Revenge
ISBN: 0743470664 OCLC: New York :

Atria New York : 2004

Draws on the insights of relationship experts in the fields of psychiatry and law to offer perspectives on the power of moving past pain and reconciling as part of ending destructive retribution cycles.

Color-Blind: Seeing Beyond Race in a Race-Obsessed World
ISBN: 0060174978 OCLC: New York :

Harper New York : 1996

A thought-provoking look at racism in America and the artificial boundaries that divide one human from another.

Democracy, If We Can Keep It: The ACLU’s 100-Year Fight for Rights in America
ISBN: 1620973839 OCLC:

The New Press 2020

For a century, the American Civil Liberties Union has fought to keep Americans in touch with the founding values of the Constitution. As its centennial approached, the organization invited Ellis Cose to become its first ever writer-in-residence, serving as an 'embedded journalist' with complete editorial independence. The result is Cose's groundbreaking Democracy, If We Can Keep It: The ACLU's 100-Year Fight for Rights in America, the most authoritative account ever of America's premier defender of civil liberties. A vivid work of history and journalism, Democracy, If We Can Keep It is not just the definitive story of the ACLU but also an essential account of America's rediscovery of rights it had granted but long denied. Cose's narrative begins with World War I and brings us to today, chronicling the ACLU's role through the horrors of 9/11, the saga of Edward Snowden, and the phenomenon of Donald Trump. A chronicle of America's most difficult ethical quandaries from the Red Scare, the Scottsboro Boys' trials, Japanese American internment, McCarthyism, and Vietnam, Democracy, If We Can Keep It weaves these accounts into a deeper story of American freedom--one that is profoundly relevant to our present moment --

Race and Reckoning: From Founding Fathers to Today's Disruptors
ISBN: 0063072440 OCLC:

Amistad 2022

Bestselling author Ellis Cose's groundbreaking latest work interrogates pivotal decisions from enslavement to the New Deal to the handling of Covid that established the United States discriminatory practices for centuries to come. Numerous racialized decisions have solidified America's, and people of color's, fate at different points in history. The first were race-based slavery and the removal of Indigenous peoples from their land. More have proliferated over time as America became a superpower post World Wars while still discriminating against people of color who served overseas and at home through internment camps and the inability to vote. Presidents and state politicians have enacted and enforced legislation with the aims of bettering a nation, but bettering it for whom? From Reconstruction to the New Deal to the unceasing fight for the Civil Rights Bill and Voting Rights Act to the nation's unyielding sense of patriotism and belief in the American Dream, each decision solidified the full rights of white people time and time again. In Race and Reckoning, journalist Ellis Cose dissects chapter-by-chapter how America's overall narrative breeds racial resentment rooted in conjecture over fact. Through rigorous research and astute details, Cose uncovers how countless points in history upheld a narrative of what makes America great thereby allowing one of the most disastrous presidencies in history to occur at a time when the world was at its most vulnerable --

The Best Defense
ISBN: 006017496X OCLC: New York :

Harper New York : 1998

The trial of John Wisocki for the murder of Francisco Garcia who was given Wisocki's job in an affirmative- action reshuffle at a computer company. The case turns into a referendum on affirmative action as everyone and his uncle becomes involved. By the author of the non-fiction, The Rage of a Privileged Class.

The End of Anger: A New Generation's Take on Race and Rage
ISBN: 0061998559 OCLC: New York :

Ecco New York : 2011

With his previous book, The Rage of a Privileged Class, the author offered a look at the simmering anger of the black middle class. Some sixteen years later, he has discovered this group is much less angry and even optimistic about its future, despite a flagging economy and a deeply divided body politic. In this new book he examines these new attitudes, the decline of black rage, as well as the demise of white guilt and the intergenerational shifts in how blacks and whites view and interact with each other. Weaving material from interviews and two large and ambitious surveys he offers a portrait of contemporary America, one that attempts to make sense of what a people do when the American dream, for some, is finally within reach, as one historical era ends and another begins. The book deals with race and class and is an exploration of how mores change from one generation to the next.

The Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America
ISBN: 0743427157 OCLC: New York :

Atria New York : 2002

Presents a realistic examination of the daunting challenges facing black men in 21st century America and offers a way out of the cycle of defeatism.

The Rage of a Privileged Class
ISBN: 0060182393 OCLC: New York :

Amistad New York : 1993

Cose examines the effects of continuing discrimination on middle-class African Americans.

The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America
ISBN: 0062999710 OCLC:

Amistad 2020

Cose offers an examination of the state of free speech in America today, litigating ideas that touch on every American's life. Social media meant to bring us closer, has become a widespread disseminator of false information keeping people of differing opinions and political parties at odds. The nation--and world--watches in shock as white nationalism rises, race and gender-based violence spreads, and voter suppression widens. The problem, Cose makes clear, is that ordinary individuals have virtually no voice at all. He looks at the danger of hyper-partisanship and how the discriminatory structures that determine representation in the Senate and the electoral college threaten the very concept of democracy. He argues that the safeguards built into the Constitution to protect free speech and democracy have instead become instruments of suppression by an unfairly empowered political minority. But we can take our rights back, he reminds us. Analyzing the experiences of other countries, weaving landmark court cases together with a critical look at contemporary applications, and invoking the lessons of history, including the Great Migration, Cose sheds light on this cornerstone of American culture and offers a clarion call for activism and change. --From publisher description.