We were sad to learn of the death of scholar Martin Bernal this weekend. We were proud to publish Black Athena Writes Back in 2001. Bernal's three-volume Black Athena trilogy produced such debate and rancor that Bernal felt the need to write another book responding to his critics. The book provides additional documentation to back up Bernal's thesis, as well as offering persuasive explanations of why traditional scholarship on the subject remains inaccurate and why specific arguments lobbed against his theories are themselves faulty.
Bernal's editor at Duke University Press was J. Reynolds Smith, who offers these comments about the book : "Although Black Athena rankled more than a few conservative scholars, at it roots it was for me simply a fuller reading of history that ultimately reflected plain common sense. It also challenged many of the same demons exposed by postcolonial scholarship on other areas of the world and in other disciplines. Martin's views on the colonization of academic thought by western biases had many champions, not the least of whom were a whole new generation of Latin Americanists. Black Athena Writes Back was his patient response to many of the slings and arrows that threatened to distract us from the fundamental justice in his positions."
On Bernal himself, Smith says, "For someone who so inflamed his critics, as a person Martin was always the epitome of the gentleman. Sometimes laconic but never spiteful, and always extremely amusing, he was a completely delightful, wonderful human being."