Strivers Row is a neighborhood housing upper and middle class Negro families including the Doves. Milton Dove, the father of Jonah and father-in-law of Amanda, founded the New Jerusalem Church.
Malcolm is a young hustler. The action takes place in Harlem during the WWII. At a time after the war and beyond the book's time period, Malcolm will become Malcol...more
The novel is daring in capturing the mood and history of New York's blacks, particularly since the author is white. Relying on sources including The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Baker melds fact and fiction to paint a vibrant portrait of pre?civil rights America. The period details, the descriptions of Jonah's "passing" in white locales, and Baker's incisive depiction of racism's psychological damage stand out. Yet some critics saw this panoramic history as too ambitious while at the same time fa...more
during the world war 2.
Begins with Imaginary encounter between Malcolm Little and Jonah Dove
whos wife is being harassed by soldiers on a train. Malcolm
(insinuates in some ways to be a young Malcolm X (but not him as far as I know) intervenes and gets soldiers thrown off the train.
Chapters alternate between the character of Malcolm Little struggling to make it and enjoy life in the Harlem of the day and Jonah, a deeply self doubting lead...more
But what a flop.
It was disjointed and annoying in its structure. I am generally perfectly okay with bouncing among narrators, but this did not work for me. The transitions were not smooth and there were gaps in the characters' stories that might not have occurred in a different structure.
I believe, too, that the lack of a sympathetic character was fatal. I couldn't bring myself to care for the selfish, violent, careless, and unambitious p...more
I didn't find the stories nor the main characters of this book nearly as compelling. That said, if Kevin Baker wrote a fourth book in this series I wouldn't hesitate to read it.
If you are new to...more
If you are into historical fiction, especially stories that take place in New York City in the 40's, you would probably be into this book.
Actual historical persons represented in an engaging plot.
However, I NEVER forgot while I was reading that the author was white. As a white author it is an audacious choice the write the story of Malcolm X's Harlem years but I could never filter that caveat out of my consciousness as I read the narrative.