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Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love…

Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color… (edition 2010)

by Martha A. Sandweiss

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2321049,816 (3.66)8
Title:Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line
Authors:Martha A. Sandweiss
Info:Penguin Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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Passing Strange by Martha A. Sandweiss

  1. 00
    The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Two works that critically examine the flexibility of race and our understandings and constructions of identity through historical figures and times. Both make for fascinating reading.
  2. 00
    An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege by Heidi Ardizzone (lilithcat)
    lilithcat: Both books deal with "passing", Passing Strange about a white man living as black, Illuminated Life discussing da Costa Greene's living as white, and have illuminating and interesting things to say about the U.S. has interpreted race and how social and cultural assumptions translate into racial "certainties".… (more)
  3. 00
    Off-White: a memoir by Laurie Gunst (Manthepark)
    Manthepark: An interesting coming-of-age story of a Jewish girl’s connections with the African-American and white communities in Richmond, Virginia, and how those connections carried forward into her adult life.

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A fascinating story. Recommended for those interested in race relations and American history. The book is a bit longer than it should be; the tale could have been told more straightforwardly. But recommended nonetheless. ( )
  sparemethecensor | May 30, 2016 |
From the book description, “Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history; a brilliant scientist and witty conversationalist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay named King “the best and brightest of his generation.” But King hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family in Newport: for thirteen years he lived a double life—as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common- law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed.”

I had never heard of Clarence King. I came across his story and it sounded so intriguing that I felt I had to read this book. I am very glad I did. The story of his accomplishments was interesting enough, but the entire story of his double life was truly fascinating. The author obviously researched this book very well and the history she gives us with regards Ada Copeland was eye-opening.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
I was quite excited about this book, but I gave up a few chapters in. I found that what could have been an exciting story was written in as dull a way as possible. It could not sustain my interest. So disappointing - the story itself is intriguing.
  Fogcityite | Oct 19, 2013 |
I read this as a Book Club selection. Had it been for any other reason I would have abandoned it after 50 pages. The whole story could have been covered in a short essay! ( )
  elsyd | Aug 1, 2012 |
  betweencovers | Sep 25, 2011 |
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Was he merely being another American and, in the great frontier tradition, accepting the democratic invitation to throw your origins overboard if to do so contributes to the pursuit of happiness? Or was it less?
----Philip Roth, The Human Stain
For My Parents
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Equally at home in a remote desert field camp and an elite Manhattan club, Clarence King could plot revolution with a Cuban peasant or deliver a learned lecture at Yale.
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"Passing Strange" is a uniquely American biography of Clarence King, who hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family: for 13 years he lived a double life--as the celebrated white explorer, geologist, and writer King and as a black Pullman porter and steelworker named James Todd.… (more)

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