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Abstract

Harlon L. Dalton, Racial Healing: Confronting the Fear Between Blacks and Whites. New York: Doubleday, 1995. Pp. 246. $22.50.

Much of contemporary legal scholarship expresses a narrative impulse. Eschewing the traditional norms and forms of legal scholarship, many professors have turned to storytelling to capture issues not easily elucidated through more conventional approaches. Although the narrative approach has recently come to prominence through the writings of critical feminist and critical race theory scholars, the use of narrative in legal scholarship is not a recent development.

Intellectuals and writers both within and without the academy have recently produced a significant amount of personal writing about race that parallels and sometimes overlaps the legal storytelling movement. This writing ranges from personal essays, to memoirs, to full autobiographies. Black law professors, in particular, have recently published personal writings about race intended for a broader audience than that of traditional legal scholarship.

Racial Healing: Confronting the Fear Between Blacks and Whites reflects both recent legal scholarship's narrative impulse and the turn toward personal writing about race. Racial Healing is a personal book about the public issue of race. Professor Dalton blends personal experience and social analysis and switches frequently between first and third person. Rejecting a narrow focus on discrete legal or political controversies, Dalton's wide-ranging discussion illustrates the breadth of issues implicated by what Dalton characterizes as the "deep and abiding wound [of race, which] [i]f left untreated ... will continue to ooze and fester."

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