This is a collection of essays that are heartbreaking and thought provoking and uplifting in turn. The author's optimism comes through at times, as does his frustration at the state of American society at the turn of the 20th Century. As I have written so many times on this blog, it's unbelievable to me that Du Bois' description of what he calls "the Veil" (i.e., segregation, as a simplification) is not as different in the year 2015 as he clearly hoped it would be. This is profoundly depressing, to be honest.
As a change of mood, I have to concentrate on the sociological value of this collection, which is wonderful. Du Bois is a fantastic writer who can really paint a picture. He can also elicit emotions in the reader, which was particularly noticeable in Chapter XI: Of the Passing of the First-Born, which is a poignant essay about his son. All in all this is a valuable portrait of life and well worth reading. Recommended.