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scores of writers across the country know, journalism is one of the toughest professional fields to break into. It’s even more difficult to make a name for yourself, let alone become one of the most respected chroniclers of a burgeoning music and cultural movement in the United States – and yet Nelson George – son of a Brooklyn teacher and a Harlem hustler – became just that.
Growing up in the projects of Brooklyn during the seventies was often fraught with difficulty and sometimes with danger, but George’s innate sense of ambition and his mother’s constant support and enthusiasm propelled him out of poverty and into a successful career as a movie reviewer, a music critic, and a patron of the arts.
In City Kid, George examines his childhood, adolescence, and maturation as a writer during his twenties and thirties with the same objective eye he uses to craft his award-winning articles and nonfiction books. Yet his account of chasing a journalism career as a young black man in a rapidly changing post-civil rights NYC is not devoid of emotion, but instead infused with a steadfast sincerity and genuine enthusiasm for the people and places he encountered during his developing career.
George’s voice is at once humble, proud, sweet, funny, and always in awe of the city and the cultural movements that fostered his ambition and dreams. In the beautifully crafted, careful prose that he’s been honing since those days reading Hemingway and writing for the school paper, George’s City Kid is an exceptional record of New York City and its boroughs during the 70s and 80s. It’s also a testament to how desire, dedication, and devotion to one’s craft can lift a young man out of poverty, into prosperity, and more importantly – into a refined sense of self.