As it is Native American Heritage Month it seemed like a good time to pick up this book by author Katz. Native American history really does not get the attention it should in the US and black Indians (as the title refers to) are a group I don't think I ever heard about until well into adulthood. At most I think my education was limited to how black Indians could claim membership in a nation and how that criteria can differ from group to group. In order to rectify this it seemed like this book would be a good reference to learn more.
The book looks at the history of black people in the US and how they intermingled with the indigenous peoples already here. From intermarriage to slave trade it was interesting to learn more about the general history and more about people who I had no idea could claim both heritages.
That said, a lot of the criticisms are right on target. The writing is really terrible. Written at a middle school/high school level at best the author is just not interesting. I became very uneasy when seeing several reviews point out the inaccuracies of the text (despite the high rating). Katz has a bibliography, but this was the type of book that might have been better suited to in-text citations (or at least foot/endnotes so I could check sources or at least see a citation).
So while there is value to the book I can't but feel I'm not really sure how much of an expert he is and am not sure what would be a good source to compliment this book. I bought it based on the high ratings but am not sure that was a good idea. Borrow instead.
Oh lord this book was a roller coaster ride. I’d have to say as of after reading this book, it’s been the best thriller/crime book I have read so far.
The pace of the book is pretty fast and you’re breezing through the book trying to figure out how this is going to come into play. There’s three different story arcs happening here in this book and it’s brilliant how it all came together in the end in one full circle. There plenty of moments where you’re saying to yourself; “Oh no...this is going to happen..” only something else will get in the way and you breathe a sigh in relief. This pretty much is a rinse repeat throughout the book but it doesn’t get tiring or boring. It enhances and makes the plot go faster and more exciting.
Hoo boy Xander/Leon. You are one pretty sad soul. Horrible childhood and all that is understandable but man oh man this is some brutal stuff you’re doing. Normally I cheer for the villains in most book but this one, I can’t. He’s horrible and twisted. You’re torn because you do feel pity for what he’s gone through as a child but he turned out so horribly wrong. This book is not for the squeamish for sure.
Valerie’s got my respect. She’s a total mess getting into the novel and has a lot on her plate. She faces a lot of overwhelming odds and constant pressure it’s no wonder she suffers from constant blackouts and physical reactions to stress. You almost wanted to beg her to stop and just take a breather, she’s a working machine that is endless even when her body is telling her it’s reaching the limit.
Actually you pretty much feel that way with all the characters in the book. They’re in constant emotional physical and mental anguish, they’re at their limit as to what their bodies can take but they all take it and go one step further it’s amazing how they’re still standing. I mentally begged Valerie to end it. I was just about to be in tears for all of them and the suffering they were going through.
The characters were great, the pace of the plot was excellent with a great ending to end things to a full stop. (A little weak on the explanation for Carla’s behavior, understandable but a little extreme don’t you think?) In any case, I greatly recommend this book. It’s an excellent read.
I am not a huge Lovecraft fan. I'm not a Lovecraft fan at all. I understand why he is a touchstone and all that, but yeah, he's not for me. So outside of the two characters, there are probably some Lovecraft references I missed.
This is a fine book about racism, society, and what society makes people become. LaValle gets so many points for the wonderful story arc that kicks Hollywood stories to the curb.
Overall the writing is beautiful (though the kindle edition has at least two run-ons that jarred). This novella is a brillant work of criticism and homage to Lovecraft as well as indictment of USA past and present.
And it is a story about music too.