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Strivers Row

Strivers Row

Written by Kevin Baker

Narrated by Thomas Penny


Strivers Row

Written by Kevin Baker

Narrated by Thomas Penny

ratings:
3.5/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
20 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 7, 2006
ISBN:
9780061134975
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Summer 1943. Harlem is a never-ending carnival in the second year of the war. Yet underneath the glitter, its black residents remain second-class citizens, and the neighborhood is a tinderbox, waiting for a match.

Along these restless streets, two very different young men will cross paths. Their chance encounter will change both of their lives, and presage the battle for civil rights that is to come. Malcolm Little is a naive, cocky, troubled teenager and not yet the iconic civil rights leader Malcolm X. The Rev. Jonah Dove is the minister of one of Harlem's greatest churches, and lives in the blocks known as Strivers Row. Their lives intersect when Malcolm rescues Jonah and his wife from a group of drunken white soldiers. For Jonah, it is a crowning indignity that brings on a crisis of faith. But Malcolm, haunted by his own past, temporarily forgets the incident and plunges ecstatically into the nightlife of Harlem -- yet he finds it hollow at the core. Lonely and confused, he starts to have odd dreams and visions -- the beginning of a religious conversion that will overthrow his whole world.

As race riots break out across the homefront, and Harlem slides toward the brink, Jonah and Malcolm must confront their own demons. Their next meeting, in the midst of turmoil, will lead them both to make fateful choices, for themselves and for their people.

Completing his "City of Fire" trilogy, master storyteller Kevin Baker has once again woven an epic tale set against the panoramic backdrop of a vanished New York. Bold and exciting, evocative and unique, Strivers Row sets a new standard for modern historical fiction.

Publisher:
Released:
Feb 7, 2006
ISBN:
9780061134975
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Kevin Baker is a novelist, historian, and journalist whose books include Dreamland and the New York Times bestseller Paradise Alley. He authored America: The Story of Us, the companion volume to the groundbreaking A&E television show of the same name, and was the chief historical researcher on The American Century by Harold Evans. Baker is a contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, GQ, Newsweek, Politico, the Huffington Post, and other leading publications, and has appeared as a television commentator on the History channel, CNN, and The Colbert Report. Baker lives in New York with his wife, Ellen, and their cat, Maisie.

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What people think about Strivers Row

3.7
3 ratings / 2 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    This is third in a series of books known as the City of Fire, where Kevin Baker delves into the drama of everyday lives among the ordinary, working class communities of historical New York. The books are always richly detailed and well-told. This time the story is set in Harlem in 1943 against the backdrop of World War II and racial tensions ratcheting up. This story is framed around two main characters: the Reverend Jonah Dove who feels unworthy of his leadership role compared with his legendary father and is sometimes able to pass as white, and a fictional version of Malcolm Little who would become Malcolm X. Choosing Malcolm X for a character in a novel is a daring move, especially since Baker takes liberties with the timeline of his discovery of the Nation of Islam. But overall both his characters are rich, flawed, fully-human, and have a feeling of authenticity. The novel is peppered with historical events and the characters reactions to them. Like the previous two novels - Paradise Alley which ended with the Draft Riots and Dreamland which ended with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - Strivers Row culminates in a major event in New York City, this time the Harlem Race Riots of 1943. I think Baker did a better job overall with the previous two books, but this is an entertaining and though-provoking novel
  • (3/5)
    It feels like I've been reading this book forever!! I thought it was two weeks, but then I remembered I started another book or two and abandoned them as not worth my time before starting this one. So, maybe it wasn't so bad.Anyway, it was a really fat book. 500+ pages. But it was pretty good. It's fiction, but it's peopled with fascinating historical characters. The main character is Malcolm Little; you probably know him better as Malcolm X. Baker does a great job bringing Harlem in the 1940s to life. There are jazz clubs, zoot suits, conked hair, and torch singers. And racism. I was particularly captivated by the descriptions of the powerful black preachers in the novel. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. has a couple of cameo appearances, but Jonah Dove, a fictionalized version of Powell, was a main character. Through the book, you could see how they cultivated power--political, social, and spiritual.Though I liked the details in the book, I wasn't as impressed with the overall plot. It was telegraphed pretty blatantly from the beginning of the book and required too many implausible connections and "chance" meetings between three of the characters. Still, it wasn't bad.This is an ARC, so they may end up editing it down a bit. It could be tighter by 100 pages or so without losing too much of its power. I may have to check it out when it's released just to see if they cut it some.I guess I'd recommend this one, but not as enthusiastically as some of the other books I've read this year.