Eslanda Robeson's Journey
Book Review

Gore, Dayo F.

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/03/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20925

A book review of Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson, by Barbara Ransby.



Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson offers a dynamic detailing of Eslanda and Paul Robeson’s shared political vision and the journeys that led them from the Black social and cultural milieu of Harlem in the 1920s, to 1930s left politics and an embrace of Soviet communism, anticolonial solidarity, and an unconventional marriage from the 1940s on.

Moreover, the biography constructs a rich context for tracing "one women's journey across the vast and volatile landscape of 20th-century world politics and culture, how that landscape looked to her, and how it changed beneath her feet."

In my reading, Eslanda's first trip to Africa, detailed in the chapter "African at Last, 1936," serves as the linchpin for the engaging and thoughtful 14-chapter biography. In this brief chapter Professor Ransby illuminates the ways Eslanda Robeson's first visit to the continent, with her 11-year old son Paul Jr. as a traveling companion, marked a crucial turning point in her life.
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