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Richard Wright's memoir of his childhood as a young black boy in the American south of the 1920s and 30s is a stark depiction of African American life and powerful exploration of racial tension. At four years old, Richard Wright set fire to his home in a moment of boredom; at five his father deserted the family; by six Richard was - temporarily - an alcoholic. Moved from home to home, from brick tenement to orphanage, a grandmother in Jackson, an aunt in Arkansas, he had had, by the age of twelve, only one year's formal ...

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