BOOK DATA Christopher Sieving, Pleading the Blood: Bill Gunn’s “Ganja & Hess.” Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2022. $85.00 hardcover; $35.00 paper. 302 pages.

In a 1989 Village Voice obituary for the writer, actor, and filmmaker Bill Gunn, the cultural critic Greg Tate both marked the importance of Gunn’s 1973 film Ganja & Hess and speculated about the potential of the films that Gunn never had the chance to make. “Imagine,” Tate wrote, “a world where Miles Davis was disallowed from recording after Kind of Blue or where Toni Morrison was only known as the author of The Bluest Eye. I don’t think, I know, that if Gunn had been making a film a year after Ganja and Hess our cinema would have been transformed as Miles and Morrison have transformed our music and literature” (5).

Building on Tate’s tribute, Christopher Sieving’s fascinating and deeply researched new book, Pleading...

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