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Cape Fear Rising

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In August 1898, Wilmington, North Carolina, was a mecca for middle-class Negroes. Many of the city's lawyers, businessmen, and other professionals were black, as were all the tradesmen and stevedores. Negroes outnumbered whites by more than two to one.But the white civic leaders, many descended from the antebellum aristocracy, did not consider this progress. They looked ar ...more
Paperback, 426 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by John F. Blair Publisher
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(showing 1-30 of 122)
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Wilmington, North Carolina is the only city in the entire history of the United States to have its elected government violently overthrown.

Yes, the sort of thing you think couldn't possibly happen here, did indeed happen here in 1898. The recently elected integrated city council was forced out by a group of wealthy white men.

"Cape Fear Rising" is a fictionalized account of the 1898 Wilmington race riots. I had a hard time getting through this book, even though I found the subject truly fascinat
Feb 01, 2008 Betsy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history, human rights, and North Carolina
Shelves: nc-stuff
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Kirk Lowery
Jul 24, 2011 Kirk Lowery added it
Shelves: history
This historical novel narrates events in late 1898 in Wilmington, NC, a 25,000 population city which at that time had many black professionals, tradesmen and politicians. White supremacists imported weapons and carried out a coup d'etat, with murders and forced ouster of duly elected political officers. The book details the labyrinth of small town politics during the late reconstruction era. The interactions between people and races are fascinating, but I found myself wishing a true historical n ...more
Eileen Gallagher
Great history of the only coup in the US in a small southern city in NC. Lots of great facts and references.
Living in NC at the time and thought I'd check out the local writers. This is historical fiction on race relations in turn of the century Wilmington written by a professor at the UNC Wilmington campus. Turned out to be a pretty interesting read, not fantastic, a little overly dramatic at times with the personal (i.e. ficticious) parts. But what he was able to do with the historical/factual information was good. Plus, it's neat to be in Wilmington and see streets/parks named after folks I just re ...more
Lorin Cary
This is an historical novel about events that took place in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction blacks thrived here, filling skilled working class positions as well as political offices. White-led "redemption" arrived later than it did in some other Southern communities, but in November of 1898 it struck full force. Gerard does his best to weave this sorry tale together from several perspectives, drawing deeply upon the actual events and considerable re ...more
Since moving to the Cape Fear area myself, I've been trying to read some local authors. This was a particularly interesting story of fiction based on fact at the turn of the century when the local leaders conspired to fix the elections to "take back their town" from the black population. There were riots and killings and chasing people out of town. It was really quite shocking, especially since there seem to have been no repercussions. I may have to indulge in some nonfiction reading as a follow ...more
Philip Gerard is an eloquent writer and he managed to capture the complexities of the late 1800s. This book demonstrates how people manipulate the hatred of others to benefit themselves financially. The failure of good people to intervene was based largely on fear of social isolation, the unknown, desperation, failure, or the possibility of danger. The author also points out how distorted that the truth can become even decades later when no one steps up and becomes an honest witness of history.
Ken McDouall
Not the best writing, but this is a fascinating interpretation of some very important North Carolina history, when white supremacists ran riot over a prosperous African American community in Wilmington in the late 19th century. This was a period before Jim Crow sank its fangs deeply into the region, when there were still possibilities of interracial working class political union.
What a masterpiece. Again, I feel so privileged to have Philip Gerard as my professor. This book tackles such important issues, and the blend of history and fiction is seamless (almost too seamless, as I don't know who exactly is real! My only complaint). Every word rings true. This is the kind of writing to which I aspire.
Roni Robertie
Good book but difficult to deal with emotionally.
Jason neese
Dec 06, 2007 Jason neese rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody
the story of race riots that occurred in my home of wilmington, nc. the year was 1898. i learned my town had dark secrets. my instructor and mentor at the bfa program i attended and graduated from at uncw penned this one.
more historical fiction at its best
Sep 12, 2008 Jan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who enjoy historical fiction, southern fiction; early race relations; American history
I have recently moved to North Carolina, near Wilmington. Cape Fear Rising introduces a bold time in our history that few of us are aware. The introduction of characters is a bit confusing but worth the effort to keep them all lined up. A great read.
Another exceptional tale based on facts. They may not be facts that some of us would be particularly proud of, but they are of historical significance. These facts also combine in Philip Gerard's writing skill to become one hell of a good novel.
Karen Gott
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Jun 21, 2015
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