A Taste of Power
Posted Mar 27 2006
Coming in at 450 pages, Brown's book is a quick, yet powerful read about the Black Panther Party from and insider's perspective. While she details her early life in the streets of Philadelphia, what's particularly striking is her graphic and frank observation of the Black Panther Party (BPP) As she rose to the rank of chairman of the party and had intimate relationships with the likes of party founder Huey P. Newton, Brown's reflections are based on first-hand accounts. While she takes pride in her party's numerous accomplishments, including free lunch program and international influence, she pulls no punches on its internal problems, including raging egos, rampant sexism, and clashing philosophical views.
With obvious reason, this book raises the ire of many activists as she puts the likes of Bobby Seale and Mualana Karenga (the founder of Kwanzaa) in a less than flattering light. In the latter's case, she bolsters claims that Karenga was an FBI informant that disrupted the activities of many Black activists. Similarily, she documents the government's often illegal efforts to shut down the party.
As with any writing with material this heavy and passionate, reader's should read other books to get a well-rounded account of the party. While this does not diminish the power of Brown's writings, her closesness to the material clouds her objectivity, which she makes no claim to have.