A novel of slavery, drugs, conspiracy and revenge.
A planter in colonial Georgia decided to import slaves from Africa to work his plantation, and at the urging of one of those slaves, the planter then enslaved members of the Bawss tribe, whose descendants serve as the novel’s focus. In the 1950s, Jakob Bawss graduates from college, determined to make a name for himself despite the prejudice he faces as an African-American. When he loses his job in the auto industry, Stephanie, a former co-worker, shares a formula she has developed for a highly addictive drug. Jakob refines the formula, renames the drug “crack” and quickly dominates the Detroit drug trade. Through the next two decades, Jakob expands his crack empire and reconnects with Stephanie, who admits that she also shared the crack formula with Ronald Reagan, another former co-worker. Jakob learns that the spread of crack was a plot by Stephanie and Reagan to subdue the African-American population. Throughout the tale, the author makes a number of factual errors, both minor (Jakob moves into a “three-room condo” in 1959 Detroit, though the first residential condominium in the United States was built in Utah in 1960) and major: The book opens in 1620 Georgia, but England did not establish its colony there until the 1700s. Reagan is shown losing the 1976 presidential election, but Gerald Ford, not Reagan, was the national candidate. The writing itself is little better, with anachronistic dialogue (“I’m sorry you guys, but I just remember too vividly the extreme lengths we had to go through to get here from Africa. I’m not sure that we’re prepared or capable of getting a ship, let along driving [sic] one,” one slave says to another in the 1660s) and awkward prose (“He had an extremely athletic body, one that made him seem as if he were an athlete, although he was far from it”). In addition, scenes of rape and torture are described in gratuitous detail.
Historically inaccurate with prose that doesn’t sparkle.