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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684854430, Paperback)At the center of National Book Award winner Charles Johnson's novel Dreamer are three remarkable men: Martin Luther King Jr.; his aide, Matthew Bishop, an African American philosophy student; and Chaym Smith, a man who is a dead ringer for the civil rights leader. Not only does Smith resemble King, but he also shares his intellectual voracity, widely read in both Eastern and Western philosophy, proficient in Sanskrit and martial arts, and a talented painter. But where King is deeply spiritual, Smith is a cynic; where King has the full force of his strong beliefs and his strong family heritage, Smith has nothing but a lifetime of misfortune to shape his attitudes. When he offers to become King's stand-in, Johnson creates an ideal situation in which to explore issues long at the heart of the "race issue" in America: the inequality between black and white, even between black and black.
As the novel moves forward in time toward that fateful day in Memphis, Johnson concentrates on the relationship between Bishop--the narrator--and Smith, a man who, with better luck, might have been as great as King. Periodically, the author also lets us in on King's own meditations on his life and faith, and the movement to which he has given them. All in all, Dreamer is the kind of novel Charles Johnson does so well: a book about a big subject, chock full of ideas and populated by characters articulate enough to argue them.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:29:18 -0500)
On the road with Martin Luther King, his wife and his two assistants. One is a look-alike decoy, a Korean War veteran who considers the pacifism of the civil rights movement naive. The novel describes harrowing scenes at the receiving end of hate. By the author of Middle Passage.
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