December 8, 2015
Professor Pamela Newkirk’s “Spectacle: The Astonishing Life Of Ota Benga” named top book of 2015 by NPR and Boston Globe
Professor Pamela Newkirk’s “Spectacle: The Astonishing Life Of Ota Benga” named top book of 2015 by NPR and Boston Globe.
There’s just no other way to say it: Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk is required reading. In 1906, Ota Benga, a young man from the Congo, was put on display in a cage at the Bronx Zoo — with an orangutan. Based on years of research, Newkirk masterfully explores the circumstances that culminated in Benga’s horrifying ordeal and then goes a step further to unpack the layers of racism, wealth and imperialism that made this racist spectacle possible.
— recommended by Saeed Jones, executive editor for culture at BuzzFeed
NPR’s Best Books of 2015 List >
Newkirk’s thoughtful book tells the story of Ota Benga, a Congolese man kept in a cage in the Bronx Zoo in 1906; the author powerfully indicts a civilization whose “cruelty was cloaked in civility,” leaving us to examine its remnants.
— Boston Globe