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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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214854,496 (3.68)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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» See also 8 mentions

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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 |
This book deserves a much wider audience among Library Thing members. A love story, a detective story, and a tale of deception that demonstrates that truth is stranger than fiction. I am surprised it has not been adapted for a movie -- Clarence King was an important figure in American history and the fact he was living a double life makes this compelling reading! ( )
  Jcambridge | May 29, 2011 |
An unusual tale of a well-known scientist, explorer and government official leading a double life in late 19th Century New York -- passing for black to marry a woman born a slave in Georgia.

Unearthing this story was no easy feat for the author, who had tried to encourage her students to tackle the job themselves, before deciding to give it a try. Although Clarence King's life was well documented, fleshing out Ada Copeland was more difficult. Scant documents are available for people born into slavery. But using census and court records -- along with large dose of informed speculation -- the author makes Ada and the love story come to life. Any genealogist who has tried to track down information about elusive ancestors will find the author's determination to present a balanced account amazing.

Written in a straightforward style without footnotes to interrupt the narrative, Passing Strange is an easy and interesting read for those of who are not historians. But extensive back notes provide all the documentation anyone could ask for. I'm going to suggest this one for the non-fiction readers' group at my library.

02/03/2009 ( )
2 vote NewsieQ | Feb 3, 2010 |
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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