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Siege by Edwin Corley


by Edwin Corley

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Excellent opening (prologue) with a throw-away character that we come to care for in about 2 sentences, and then a stunning opening, characterizing and giving backstory in the first paragraph. Wow.
James-MEOW Date: Sunday, July 8. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era) ( )
  MEOWDate | Jul 15, 2014 |
I stumbled on this in a resort hotel library and was startled to find that my library had stashed it away in a special storage section. When I read it, I understood why.

Siege details the evolution and execution of an African-American led revolution and a meticulously planned takeover of the the island of Manhattan. In a paranoid age when government and industry now guard even the most innocuous information, it is easy to see why this book, with its detailed strategic terrorist plans, might disturb The Powers That Be.

Yet that is not the best part. Written in 1967, while the Vietnam War was still raging, ghetto riots were still recent news and Black Power was in the air, the plot must have seemed really plausible. The story is told chiefly through the lives of a black radical and a black career military man. Both have suffered slights and humiliation for their race, but have developed differently.

William Gray becomes a man obsessed with power, a man without scruples who leads a revolution, yet refers disdainfully to this followers as “burr heads”. Shawcross is a dedicated soldier, unhappy with the wanton loss of black soldiers in Vietnam, but unmotivated to do anything about it until he is radicalized by the murder of his family. The tensions between these men form the central drama of the novel.

The book is written as a thriller, and certainly succeeds at that level, but it is most interesting as a piece of cultural history.
  fredvandoren | Sep 24, 2010 |
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