brainwashedMERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINES BRAINWASHED as “A forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes, and accept contrasting regimented ideas.” Tom Burrell, a marketing professional with over 45-years experience wrote BRAINWASHED: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority  to share his unique perspective on the brainwashing of Black America.

Mr. Burrell used an advertising and marketing platform to show the reader how advertising shapes the attitudes and behaviors of society. This institutionalized negative strategy was simple – flood the airwaves with consistent, concentrated negative messages that tell and/or remind (both subliminally and/or openly) that there is something wrong with being Black and before long those negative thoughts will become second-nature.

He also writes about the history of a deliberate and strategic marketing campaign to disenfranchise African-Americans from the inclusion of a “Single society with two outrageously parts: one built on a vicious, governmentally sanctioned destruction of human freedom – all with the same history-making pen” of Thomas Jefferson. BRAINWASHED is about the brainwashing of not only Black America, but America as a whole.

BRAINWASHED addresses several topics, such as: Why are black and beautiful still contradictions? Why can’t we stop shopping? Why can’t we stick together? Why is there still disproportionately negative media coverage. These are examples of some of the conversations often discussed in the African-American community. Mr. Burrell takes a heartfelt and straightforward approach to dispelling these myths with  pertinent, timely, and for some eye-opening information.


  • “The disparities of news coverages regarding black lives and non-black lives . . .
  • We [African-Americans] “over-indexed,” spending disproportionate amounts in every product category related to cleanliness, . . . primarily to compensate for being historically stereotyped as dirty.
  • The greatest achievement was the conquest of the minds of most of the people of the world.” This quote by historian, John Henrik Clarke as he examined the propaganda which was central to the European domination of the planet in the 15th and 16th centuries.

There are many people who say, “Not another book about the struggle, issues, or victimization of black people.” For those people, until African-Americans are able to have honest dialogues and honest conversations with White-Americans, along with the respect of being heard and not silenced there will always be “these” kinds of books. BRAINWASHED was thoroughly enjoyable and will give you the opportunity learn at least one thing about African-Americans that you did not know before which will begin to dispell the myths of black inferiority.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates BRAINWASHED as MELODICALLY MEANINGFUL (151-300 pgs) . . . Just the right mixture of content and pages.


Between the World and Me

Between the World and MeYOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote these poignant words to his teenage son in “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME.”

21st CENTURY AMERICA serves as the backdrop for the author’s reflections, observations, fears, frustrations and warnings about growing up as a black male in the United States. When Mr. Coates saw the familiar look of anger in his son’s eyes it touched a nerve deep in his gut. The look meant that very little had changed for a black male since he was a teenager.

AS HIS SON TRANSITIONS into manhood, the author wants his son to understand that while the dream is to “experience” a normal childhood, unfortunately for some black males that “experience” could be deadly.  As a father he must warn his son that “the difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.”


  • I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world ad then chained me in the next.”
  • “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a  well-considered act in conformity with natural law.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“CAUTION” IS THE OPERATIVE WORD. The price one pays for living long enough to enter adulthood. Interwoven on every page are examples of the “unspoken” daily stress of being black in America . . . And yes “Black Lives Matter.” In a perfect world it would not matter, but unfortunately America’s reality isn’t perfect. We are reminded of this daily through thoughts, words and/or deeds.

THE CASUAL, CONVERSATIONAL WRITING STYLE is well-suited for this topic. For many, race relations is a touchy subject to talk or write about. “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME” reminds us that people don’t see or live life the same way. The conversation must continue. As a nation, we have to find a way to communicate and hear one another through and above the anger.

TA-NEHISI COATES REMINDS US of the gap “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME,” that is constantly growing wider not narrower.  This book is not an indictment on all people, white or black, it is one man’s personal story to his son. For some, the written word is more powerful than the spoken one.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME as EASY & ENGAGING (150 pages or less) . . . straight-forward, light and to the point.

Permission granted from PenquinRandomHouse

JANUARY “Back to the Books” Award

Basic CMYKThe WINNER of our JANUARYBACK to the BOOKS” award is *THE TRUMPET OF CONSCIENCE by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace and civil rights don’t mix. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people? When I hear such questions, I have been greatly saddened for they mean that my inquirers have never really known me, my commitment, or my calling.” These were words that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recalled being spoken to him by many who questioned his decision to publicly oppose the government’s policy regarding the Vietnam War. Dr. King wrote of this in his book, THE TRUMPET OF CONSCIENCE.

THE TRUMPET OF CONSCIENCE is a compilation of five lectures that Dr. King gave at the invitation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) during November and December 1967 for the renowned Massey Lecture Series. Canada has had a long historical relationship with African-Americans throughout the period of slavery in the United States. It was the destination point for countless slaves brave enough to escape to “Heaven” (the code name for Canada).


  • “If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”
  • “Growth requires connection and trust. Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society.”
  • “When an individual is no longer a true participant, when he no longer feels a sense of responsibility to his society, the content of democracy is emptied.”

Each chapter is dedicated to a lecture in which Dr. King shared his thoughts on nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, the Vietnam War, as well as the role young people (black and white) could/would play in shaping the “new” America. These subjects of his talks still resonate today. Equally profound is that America is still embroiled in similar circumstances today, some 47 years later. In the five talked he discussed:

  • Race Relations – How much progress has really taken place for African-Americans since 1967?
  • Conscience of the Vietnam War – Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran…the names of the wars have changed, but the casualties, sentiments and consequences for many Americans remain the same.
  • Youth and Social Action – Young people are still struggling to adapt themselves to the prevailing values of our society.
  • Nonviolence and Social Change – Is this still an effective way to heighten awareness about change or an injustice?
  • A Christmas Sermon on Peace – His message was that in order to have peace on earth “our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation.” Is this still confined to a sermon or have we taken it out of the church with our actions?

Now more than ever, THE TRUMPET OF CONSCIENCE encourages you to do more and be more than you are today. Each one of us has the opportunity to be a hero/heroine because “our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.”

Let’s BOND over Books rates THE TRUMPET OF CONSCIENCE as EASY & ENGAGING (150 pages of less)…straight-forward, light and to the point.

*This review was originally posted on February 8, 2014.