Introduction
Black AthenaWrites Back is a direct response to another book, Black Athena Re-
visited (BAR).That volume,which came out in 1996, is a collection of essays
writtenbysomedistinguishedscholarsfromanumberofdisciplines.These
writers, while conceding various merits to my work, are generally critical
of it—sometimes violently so. Some of the contributors to BAR attack the
general project of Black Athena for purely scholarly reasons, others from a
mixture of scholarly and what I perceive to be right-wing political motives.
The combination is powerful, and there is no doubt that a large number
not merelyof the experts but also of the cultivated lay public have been per-
suaded by the arguments set out in the book. The chapters of this book,
Black Athena Writes Back, and its companion volume, the forthcoming De-
bating Black Athena, are attempts to challenge and debate the arguments in
BAR both in detail and in general and, from our point of view, to right the
balance.
BAR was largely made up of previously published reviews of the first two
volumes of Black Athena. They have been contributed with very little alter-
ation and with virtually no consideration to the replies to them I published
at the time. Thus, about half of Black Athena Writes Back consists of revised
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