Titus Burley's Reviews > White Man's Grave

White Man's Grave by Richard Dooling
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's review
Mar 04, 2011

it was amazing

Occasionally a book surfaces that is so thought-provoking it demands insertion into an academic curriculum. If the book is a novel it is a near certainty that if incorporated into a curriculum, that volume will only go into an English or Literature curriculum. "White Man's Grave" is one of those rare novels that deserves inclusion into the required reading list of any Sociology curriculum. The book raises fundamental questions about cultural perceptions of reality and poses a powerful case for our cultural preconditioning and preconceptions being the greatest determining factor in what we as individuals perceive as reality. The experiences of a type A, go getter, successful American father searching for his do-gooder altruistic son who has disappeared in Sierra Leone are the perfect setting for this juxtaposition of cultural reality. He leaves a land of logic and enters a land of magic where logic is a useless tool and more of a hinderance than a help. Great thinkers with brilliant minds do not always make the best novelists; brilliance has a way of hovering above the layman in lofty clouds of inaccessibility. Fortunately for readers, Dooling has the narrative skill to bring his genius to ground level. This book was deservedly nominated for the National Book Award when it was published and probably should have won the award. It is a book I haved vowed to read again in the course of my life, and I fully expect to ponder it and enjoy it as much the second time around as I did the first.

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