A Selection of Writing by Robert Jones Jr.: Background information when reading The Prophets

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Prophets

by Robert Jones Jr.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. X
The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2021, 400 pages

    Feb 2022, 416 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

A Selection of Writing by Robert Jones Jr.

This article relates to The Prophets

Print Review

Robert Jones Jr. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. is a work of historical fiction that follows the relationship between Isaiah and Samuel, two enslaved men in love on a plantation in the Antebellum South. While the book is Jones' debut novel, he is an established essayist, blogger and cultural critic. Below are a few notable examples of his published work.

"Let It Burn," which was published in The Paris Review in June of 2020 during protests following the murder of George Floyd, reflects on the general phenomenon of antiblackness in the United States and more specifically on police brutality. Jones points out that the American police force cannot be separated from its origins in Antebellum South networks dedicated to controlling Black people through state-sanctioned violence. He asserts that resistance is necessary "even if defeat is imminent," saying that he does not believe that liberation is possible "through superficial and incremental reforms," and uses the image of holding a flame to a tick's body as a metaphor for dismantling corrupt institutions rather than attempting to fix a system that is inherently broken.

In 2016, Essence published Jones' review of the film Moonlight, which would go on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, titled "A Necessary Story: How 'Moonlight' Allows Black Manhood To Exist Beyond Toxic Masculinity." The piece praises the film for creating a complex story of romantic love between Black men, and comments on how Moonlight shows manhood "as a space where vulnerability and imagination are acceptable."

In "Dear President: What You Need to Know About One Black Body," a short 2016 essay for WNYC that is also available in audio format, Jones shares a personal account of how his sexuality affected his relationship with his grandfather. In the process, he reflects on how Black men internalize the concept of manhood, and how his grandfather's existence as a Black man in America may have led him to be less accepting of Jones' identity as a gay man. The story ends on a positive note, with Jones recalling how his grandfather's attitude towards him seemed to shift later on.

In his 2015 essay "Humanity Not Included: DC's Cyborg and the Mechanization of the Black Body" for the culture blog The Middle Spaces, Jones analyzes the comic superhero Cyborg and shows that his physical makeup and social positioning reveal harmful stereotypes and ideologies that have gone into his creation. Jones demonstrates how the character can be viewed in terms of the real-world effect white supremacy has on Black people. Through his in-depth look at Cyborg, he also takes the opportunity to explore how marginalized superhero characters are generally limited by the imaginations of white creators and used to support rather than challenge white supremacy.

Jones has published some of his writing under the name "Son of Baldwin," as a tribute to the writer James Baldwin, and has created a social justice media brand of the same name.

by Elisabeth Cook

Photo of Robert Jones Jr. by Alberto Vargas, RainRiver, courtesy of Penguin Random House

Filed under Books and Authors

This article relates to The Prophets. It first ran in the January 20, 2021 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Mystery of Mysteries
    A Mystery of Mysteries
    by Mark Dawidziak
    Edgar Allan Poe biographers have an advantage over other writers because they don't have to come up ...
  • Book Jacket: Moonrise Over New Jessup
    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks
    Jamila Minnicks' debut novel Moonrise Over New Jessup received the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially...
  • Book Jacket
    The Magician's Daughter
    by H.G. Parry
    "Magic isn't there to be hoarded like dragon's treasure. Magic is kind. It comes into ...
  • Book Jacket: The Great Displacement
    The Great Displacement
    by Jake Bittle
    On August 4, 2021, California's largest single wildfire to date torched through the small mountain ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Nurse's Secret
by Amanda Skenandore
A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's first nursing school.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Once We Were Home
    by Jennifer Rosner

    From the author of The Yellow Bird Sings, a novel based on the true stories of children stolen in the wake of World War II.

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost English Girl
    by Julia Kelly

    A story of love, betrayal, and motherhood set against the backdrop of World War II and the early 1960s.

Who Said...

Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

R Peter T P P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.