Don Cheadle's Bookshelf
By Chester Himes
Set in Los Angeles during World War II, this is an extremely harrowing book. It describes the oppression of racism through its effect on the main character, a worker at the shipyards. It's the story of a man who is utterly at the mercy of his environment—and of how his rage at that fact eats at him. Reading the novel is such a visceral experience. I could feel this man's anger seething through him, especially at the end when he's accused of rape by a white woman, who is lying, and yet has no way to clear his name. I've never read a book that could better make you understand what it feels like to be subjugated.