How far has America come in its attitudes regarding blacks in popular culture? According to Ishmael Reed’s provocative Going Too Far: Essays About America's Nervous Breakdown (Baraka Books, $19.95) we’re right about where we were in 1850. Politicians, he claims, are raising stereotypes about blacks—that they are lazy and dependent and need people to manage them—reminiscent of those that fugitive slaves had to combat. “Just when you think [he’s] is exaggerating . . . he’ll open another page of American history and show you something new.”—Rover Arts. Reed has taught at University of California (Berkeley) for 35 years, as well as Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth.