As a history professor and former president of Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust has her own history of coming of age in the United States in the 1960s.

Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023) is a tale of what it was like being a young person in a segregated town to fighting for equality—this as a white woman.

She came from privilege, from a conservative family, where the hired help were Black. Race wasn’t discussed. Class wasn’t a topic.

Faust started to see the inequities while still at home, but it was at bordering school and college where her eyes were fully opened. Soon she was on a path of activism.

The book is about the divide between generations, between genders, and certainly between whites and people of color.

While these topics are not new, they haven’t been resolved as far as many of us are concerned. Faust puts a human face, so to speak, to this history that we are still grappling with.

I was captivated listening to the book, especially since Faust read it. Her story is definitely worth reading/listening to. I am sure everyone will learn something from it; if only to perhaps to have some fundamental lessons about race relations underscored.

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