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From wikipedia:
Mandingo is a novel by Kyle Onstott, published in 1957. The book is set in the 1830s in the antebellum South primarily around Falconhurst, a fictional plantation in Alabama owned by the planter Warren Maxwell. The narrative centers on Maxwell, his son Hammond, and the Mandingo (or Mandinka) slave Ganymede, or Mede. It is a tale of cruelty toward the blacks of that time, detailing vicious fights, poisoning, and violent death.

640 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1957

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About the author

Kyle Onstott

16 books33 followers
(Information from the article "The Master of Mandingo" by Rudy Maxa, which appeared in The Washington Post, July 13, 1975.)

The son of a midwestern general store owner, he moved to California with his widowed mother in the early 1900s and was a local breeder and judge in regional dog shows. He was an eccentric who was happy with a life of little work, ample cigarettes, and gin.

After collaborating with his adopted son on a book on dog breeding, he decided to write a book that would make him rich. Utilizing his son's anthropology research on West Africa, he handwrote Mandingo and his son served as editor. Denlinger's, a small Virginia publisher, released it and it became a national sensation, consumed by the public and derided by the critics.

After its paperback release by Fawcett, Onstott began his collaboration with Lance Horner, a Boston eccentric with a knack for recreating Onstott's style. The two men never met, but they collaborated on several books before Onstott's death, after which Horner continued the Falconhurst saga and penned other pulpy novels set in other eras. When Horner died in 1970, Fawcett signed prolific author Harry Whittington to continue writing Falconhurst tales under the name of Ashley Carter.

Although the Falconhurst series has sold near or over 15 million copies, it (and its authors) remain in the shadows of bestselling popular literature.

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5 stars
328 (33%)
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294 (30%)
3 stars
220 (22%)
2 stars
88 (9%)
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36 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 95 reviews
Profile Image for Erin .
1,214 reviews1,123 followers
October 27, 2018
2.5 Stars

First I'd like to thank Mrs. Wilson and her yard sale. She so kindly let me a complete stranger go in her house and use her bathroom. While I was in her house I stopped in her living room to admire her bookshelf(as any good booknerd would). While looking at her shelf I spotted this book Mandingo and rudely picked it up and started reading it(God! I didn't realize how rude I was until right now) she comes in and catches me. I of course was super embarrassed and apologized profusely. I told her I had always wanted to read Mandingo but it was hard to find. She told me she had bought it brand new when it was released in 1958 but had never been able to read it all. She then kindly gave it to me.

For Free!

I offered to pay for it but she refused to take my money. She said that since she didn't like it she just wouldn't feel right taking my money.

Thank you Mrs. Wilson.

Now on to the review.

I now know why Mrs. Wilson dnf'd this book, I almost dnf'd it about 8x if not more. I've never read a weirder or more poorly written book and I don't think I ever will. Mandingo is one of the most controversial novels ever written and that's why I wanted to read it. Mandingo is manages to be sexually explicit without having any sex scenes. I'm not a prude but the nonstop descriptions of slave genitalia made me super uncomfortable. The overuse of the word Rape was nauseating. The writing was unreadable until about page 100(I think I just got use to it) but it was at the same time compulsively readable. I've never had such conflicting emotions about a book in my entire life. This book is brutal but so is slavery. Mandingo may be the most truthful depiction of slavery ever written by a White person. Slavery is never sugarcoated in Mandingo, slaves are treated like they are subhuman. With the exception of one slave, the master's wench ( lover) Ellen she's treated better than the master's wife, father, and daughter. The master, Hammond can't even explain why he's so drawn to Ellen but he buys her things, takes her on trips and gives her a bed in the main house. As you can probably guess this behavior doesn't go over too well with his family. His wife is driven so mad by her husband's conduct that she does something unthinkable and that act leads to the most BATSHIT CRAZY 20 pages I've ever read in my entire LIFE. The ending of this book made me glad I was able to finish this book.

I'm not recommending Mandingo because its such a hard read. I settled on 2.5 Stars but could just as easily have given it 4 Stars. I'm glad I read it even though it was a slog at times.
Profile Image for ij.
212 reviews171 followers
February 12, 2012
I read this book many years ago. I don't remember the whole story; however, I remember it is about slavery in the U.S. I think this is a historical fiction because the book actually reflexes many of the atrocities that actually occurred during slavery. The characters are not real; however, slave owners, overseers, and slaves are a historical fact. Slaves had to work as house and field slaves under owners and overseers who saw them as property rather than human beings. Slaves had to live in poor conditions, off what ever was provided them. Further, unwanted sex and violence were wrongs that slaves had to endure.

Life on the plantation was not great. The author capitalized on human nature by exploiting our fascination with sex and violence. One thing I do remember is that, I enjoyed the book and read the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Gail.
Author 21 books68 followers
August 10, 2008
Now this book is about fifty flavors of racist, and bigotry just leaps from the pages, yet it is a compelling read. Not for the faint of heart or the historically literate, it's like a train wreck -- once you start, you can't put it down!

Onstott is not a "Great American Writer", but he takes some of the most hated traditions of an evil institutions and blends them into a sexy soap opera and somehow it becomes memorable.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a "Must Read" by any stretch of the imagination, and it will take an amazing imagination to get to the last page. But if you get to the last page, the story and characters will stay with you for a long, long time.
Shelved as 'will-read-if-cheap-or-freebie'
June 9, 2022
So there's a subset of old pulp fiction that I refer to as the It Might Be Racist Starter Pack(TM) because, uh. For many years, this book was out of print-- presumably because publishing houses realized that backing books like these had consequences. But it looks like it has been rereleased on Kindle and is only $1.99. Uh oh. D:
Profile Image for DeeTimes' Nook.
2,230 reviews
June 6, 2017
This story is not for the faint at heart because it is racism at its worst but it was the way of life in the antebellum South in Alabama- plantation: Falconhurst! Characters were well-rounded and language raw.

Hammond's wife Blanche was not a virgin (like all the slaves he like to bed) piece of work and played her part well of a vengeful wife and jealous slave mistress on the plantation. Hammond was a likable slave owner but he showed too many sides of what the white man was allowed (elitist) and sometimes did what others slavers did to fit in in Alabama and New Orleans. Yet when it came to Ellen, a slave girl, Hammond promised her to let their child go free when he got older because he loved Ellen. And that loving will be the downfall of Blanche when poor Ellen is "knocked".

Mentioning of Nat Turner, great abolitionists and Cicero, the slave who represented the lynching of an outspoken slave in the 19th century gave the story "Mandingo" credibility but still it was just not a story that I would not highly recommend.

Double standards are intertwined throughout this entire story.
Profile Image for Tracy Verma.
3 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2012
I thought this book was a little rough around the edges and may offend some that read it but for me it opened a veil into another time and showed a sad and violent truth. I loved this book and have read it more than once. The characters are very well developed and the storyline is interesting. This is one of my favorite books although I wouldn't recommend it to everyone as it paints an ugly picture of the past that some do not wish to see.
Profile Image for Negar Mahjoub.
34 reviews
April 2, 2022
انقدر پنجاه صفحه آخر تکان‌دهنده بود که وقتی تمومش کردم فقط مات مونده بودم. این کتاب در مجموع از یه بعد دیگه به برده داری نگاه میکرد بدون اون خشونت عریان ولی آخرش در عین دردناک بودن پر از جملاتی بود که عجیب من رو به فکر فرو برد.
پ.ن: آقای قاضی روحتون شاد بابت این ترجمه عالی.
Profile Image for Alan Smith.
125 reviews8 followers
April 19, 2013
I was a hot-blooded young adolescent when I first discovered Lance Horner and Kyle Onstott's "Falconhurst" series, and they hooked me totally. These authors built up a kind of fictionalized Deep South comparable to Hardy's Wessex, and while the books varied in quality, they were usually an entertaining read. Revisiting the works in adulthood I found a few flaws - plots tend to be a bit samey, the dialogue of the Negro slaves can be wearying to decipher, and it's hard to fall for the implication that the authors are tut-tutting at the abomination of slavery, when it's obvious they're enjoying every line they write - but it's hard to deny their read-along quality.

All the usual elements of "Deep South" tales are there - the sexy, musky-smelling slaves, the spoiled but sexy "high yallars", white-trash adventurers and overseers, cracker-barrel store salesman and earthy, arrogant plantation owners, and "Mandingo" probably is the most definitive example of the series.

The plot centers around Hammond Maxwell, Owner of Falconhurst plantation - which despite its name is given over to breeding slaves rather than growing cotton or tobacco - and his wife who takes on (gasp, horror!) a black slave as her lover.

Mede, the unfortunate slave in question (His name is a diminutive of "Ganymede",) is a fighter, commonly matched by his owner against other slaves for a rich purse. The fight descriptions are really well done, if perhaps a bit graphic for some tastes (one unfortunate prize fighter gets his throat chewed out)and obviously this well-muscled man is just what Hammond's neglected wife needs. When her indiscretion is discovered, however, Hammond has no choice (given the revolting social mores of the time)but blame the poor slave, and boil him alive in a pot!

Yes, it's a violent tale, probably too much so for some tastes. But it's got the value that it will probably shock some people who knew little of the antebellum Southern United States out of their complacency about their nation's history, and the added bonus that it will give apoplectic fits to a certain type of person who thinks interracial sex is a sin against Jesus. Yes, there are still such people around today, so imagine the shock when this story came out in the seventies, two generations ago!

Not being an African-American, I can't say for sure how people of such background will feel about this book. It does contain a vivid picture of the evil days of slavery, but nonetheless they may find some of the descriptions offensive. The work is recommended with that caveat!
Profile Image for Juxhin Deliu.
193 reviews16 followers
August 27, 2019
Conceived as a nefarious recollection of the many cruelties towards black people in the antebellum South period, it is nevertheless more focused on pulpy intrigues, which seem pretty tame to today's standards (also due to the plot's weak rendition). You can also tell it was clearly meant to be serialized, given its raciness brought enormous success, however, with these premises I will not indulge in any of the so-called prequels/sequels. Same goes for Onstott's other publications, whom I sense to be all well written, with interesting historical and cultural premises, but going all out on dishing their trashy material for more than three hundred pages.
Profile Image for George Kouri.
7 reviews
May 11, 2011
I read this book as a teenager and in hindsight I can say that it made quite an impression on me. First it was mature reading beyond my years and second it was a crash course on slavery in America. Impressive on both counts.
Profile Image for Orion.
372 reviews27 followers
February 13, 2013
First published in 1959, before the civil rights movement had changed much in the USA, Mandingo is a book that takes a harsh and simplistic view of slavery in the 1830's South. As the author recreates this period, slaves are animals to be bred, worked, and sold as the owners see fit. The N-word is used frequently, and slaves are represented as simple-minded and devoted to their owners. Bored by their rural life, young white men enjoy sex with their female slaves and wagering on fights between their most muscular male slaves. Slave breeding and prices are about the only things that the plantation owners seem to have enough knowledge about and interest to discuss.

Hammond Maxwell is 18 years old and an only child. His mother died when he was young, and his father is disabled by rheumatism. He and his father Warren are the only whites on a large Alabama plantation. Since he reached puberty he has had his choice of bedmates from the slaves of the plantation. His father is pressuring Hammond to marry his cousin Blanche, who he hasn't seen since she was a baby, and who lives on a distant plantation. Although Hammond has had many children by his female slaves, his father is looking for a white child who can be an heir to their plantation, Falconhurst. Blanche's father is eager to arrange a match because he is deep in debt and hopes to secure a "loan" from Hammond in exchange for his parental approval. Hammond, on his side is willing to do his duty to provide his father with progeny, but finds sex with slaves much more satisfying than with his wife. Blanche, neglected by a husband who finds more time for his pure-bred Mandingo fighter than for her, turns to drink and eventually to infidelity to ease her loneliness.

The plot is simplistic and the characters two-dimensional. One would hope that the author portrayed them that way intentionally rather than through lack of skill. In either case, the reader gets a glimpse into the dehumanizing effects of slavery on both the owner and the owned. This is a difficult book that gives a harsh glimpse at a brutal way of life.
Profile Image for John Tatum.
3 reviews34 followers
March 13, 2014
This book was my introduction to slavery as it was practiced here in the United States long before my family came to the American shores. While not a novel of "high style", it is a novel that showed the brutality of slavery long before Alex Haley even thought about writing "Roots". Given the background of the author in "dog show judging", he gave a unique perspective of a "master" who treated his slaves worse than one would treat a dog. Warning, this book is BRUTAL and makes "Roots" look like a "walk in the park"...it is not for the faint of heart. I read this while I was in elementary school, for the first time, but the audience for this is not the typical "pulp fiction" reader, but more of the college educated who can put this novel of the savage brutality that was American Slavery in the proper context. It was adapted into the feature film "Mandingo" which in two hours faithfully follows this book, and which is as painful to watch as the book is to read. If you want to see some of the darkest sides of slavery in fiction, this is the book. If you can not handle such strong subject matter, it would be best for you to give this book a wide berth, and bypass it. It shows the violence with all of its "thorns"...it is a painful book to read. But it is a decent introduction to exactly how nasty the antebellum Southern United States was prior to the US Civil War.
Profile Image for Sandi.
283 reviews53 followers
April 21, 2011
This was in a pile of what I'll call my Mom's trash books along with the Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann. I would read anything within hand's reach then as there was only the school library or a very small town book store.

All I can say is "What an eye opener for a young Canadian girl". While I knew the book itself wasn't fact it taught me a little more than school was teaching me about our southern neighbours. I ended up reading the whole pile that Mom had as it was fascinating yet sickening at the same time.

I'm not sure I'd recommend these to anyone yet it is a good look at slavery and racism in all it's stark realities.
Profile Image for Greta.
91 reviews3 followers
May 12, 2021
Nonostante ci abbia messo ben 10 giorni per leggerlo, nonostante la grammatica un po’ sgrammaticata e gli argomenti affrontati, che sicuramente non agevolano la lettura, il libro mi è piaciuto, forse perché a differenza di altri libri con tema la schiavitù dei popoli africani, questo non si risparmia; crudo, violento, rivoltante e schifoso, ma veritiero.
Profile Image for Walt.
1,083 reviews
December 4, 2008
This was an agonizingly long novel with no seeming point except to draw out the double-standards of Southern Culture; and the social ills of Southern White Men.
Profile Image for Barbara "Cookie" Serfaty Williams.
2,460 reviews4 followers
May 20, 2020

This is the story of the Falconhurst Plantation. Own by the Maxwell family. This plantation raise slaves not cotton. This book show the love, death and life of slaves and people of a plantation.
Profile Image for Marwah  .Qoura .
129 reviews38 followers
November 8, 2020
Read it long time ago from my Dad 's library, very hard to read especially the ending.. Does not sugar coat anything, here is slavery at its truest!.. and it's the ugliest indeed.. Not for impatient people or faint of heart....
Profile Image for Karen Walcott.
9 reviews
June 15, 2021
This book is utterly vile. I think it was very accurate in its depiction of the mindset of slave owners, but I was disgusted by the portrayal of the mindset of slaves. The narrator is able to go into the P.O.V of all the characters. Yet all the black characters seem content with slavery. More than that they all seem to be rapturously in love with Hammond Maxwell. When Hammond rapes Big Pearl (and the novel and the characters say use the word “rape” a few of the slaves are jealous.

They make Ellen so utterly pathetic that it makes me sick. Hammond tells her, “Just cause you get in my bed don’t forget that you ain’t nothing but a nigger.” And she is not offended by that.

The author makes it seems as if all slaves were content to be enslaved. They were content to be raped, have their children stolen from them and be sold at the master’s whim? I don’t think so.

Lucretia Borgia is another offensive example. She idolizes her masters despite the fact that they made her have 24 children and sold 22 of them. Her masters sell her to a strange Frenchman who comes to the plantation one day simply because he has an obvious pediaphillic interest in her two, prepubescent twin boys. They sold her, this person who managed their home and plantation for years, simply because the stranger made an outrageous offer for her. Then when Lucretia runs away from that master she goes back to the Maxwells. She doesn’t run to freedom, but back to slavery because she loves the Maxwells so much.

I think that the author wrote this novel to expose racist attitudes in the Antebellum south, but he also exposed his own racist attitudes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
74 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2020
I'm giving it 4 stars because it delivered on what it promised.

When I started this book, I was saying to myself, "What trash! How scandalous!" And, I enjoyed every word of it. The book is mostly about sex. Though for all the sex that people have, had, or want, there is no descriptions of the acts themselves. No DH Lawrence narration of quivering mounds, or hard body parts. But, leaving things to the imagination does have its virtues.

I came to a point where I just took in the book as it was. Nothing was trashy nor scandalous anymore. Nothing shocking. I think it was during one of the road trips the main character Hammond took. He met up with fascinating and interesting characters. He was not the most interesting character of the book. Kind of bland. That is until the very end when the story takes a dark turn.

Throughout the book, I was fascinated with the character of Meg.

If I have any complaint of the book, it's the fancy and 3-dollar words that Onstott used. Although I understood them in the context of the sentence, I still had to look them up to make sure. The word "integument" was one of the last ones. With all the words I was not familiar with, I can't fault him for what he used them for. All were appropriate.
23 reviews
June 18, 2014
My father had all of these books and they were quite sensational in their day, so I sneakily read them as a teenager. I read Mandingo again a few years ago and was able to view it as a much older adult. It is very racist and yet the white characters are not portrayed sympathetically either. The writer does not form "sides"; he writes the characters' stories almost dispassionately and the reader is left to form his own opinion as to each character's merits or failings, and the culture of the times. It is, 50 years later, still a brutal tale.
656 reviews4 followers
November 28, 2014
When I read this in the 1970s I was quite surprised to learn that it had been published in 1957. It portrays slavery and racism in the 1800s and, in that portrayal, it is sure to offend post-60s sensibilities. As the historic conditions of slavery go, this is mild except, maybe, in the minds of our contemporaries. The plot is strong and the writing is competent so it's no struggle at all to read. I won't recommend it for anyone in particular, though. If you read it just keep in mind that it's a novel, not a history.
51 reviews2 followers
July 6, 2009
Now we are adding books from my father's extensive booklist - not so well-known authors with not so noble plots. Certainly this story is a compelling one - and from an awful time in our country's history when folks could own other people and do terrible things to them. A story of bigotry, lust and hatred.
Profile Image for Shahed.
176 reviews26 followers
February 25, 2016
امروز پنجشنبه ششم اسفند 1394 وقتی می خواستم اطلاعات مربوط به این کتاب را وارد سایت کنم، نگاهی دوباره به آن انداختم. باورم نمی شود که 515 صفحه آن را ظرف مدت پنج روز خوانده ام
مرحوم محمد قاضی در مقدمه چهار صفحه ای کتاب اطلاعات مبسوطی در مورد نویسنده آن ( کایل آنستوت ) و معنی نام اصلی کتاب ( مندینگو ) ارائه کرده است
Profile Image for Stasha.
320 reviews
December 31, 2010
I was in middle school when I read this and I found the duality fascinating and disturbing. Wow, I had forgotten what the cover even looked like, but I remember the title and the dog-eared pages of scenes that got passed around the lunch table...
Profile Image for Naghmeh.
21 reviews19 followers
August 31, 2016
این کتاب معرکه ست..
فقط در عجبم چرا اینهمه کتاب شبیه به این و کسی ترجمه نکرده یعنی اسم کتابهای معروف و که ورق میزنی زیرش یه سری کتاب همسان هم معرفی کرده ولی تمام اون معروفها و خوندنیهاش بدون ترجمه فارسی مونده
چرا ؟
ترجمه اش کنید دوستان خواهشا...
Profile Image for Shabnam.
64 reviews21 followers
June 25, 2018
درسته که واقعیتی را به تصویر کشیده بود ولی کتاب ارزشمندی نبود
Displaying 1 - 30 of 95 reviews

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