SIEGE by Edwin Corley


Email this review


After continued failure to meet black demands for civil rights, opportunities, and dignity, the most militant blacks become really military and take over New York City on a not-too-distant-future Labor Day weekend and try to trade it for New Jersey, which is to be renamed Redemption and become a separate black state. The story surges along in scenario--flashing back to the embittering circumstances that led to each black leader's commitment. There's Cleaverish William Grey, his LeRoi Jones-esque side-kick Raymond Carpenter, and their general, Stanley Shawcross, late of the U.S. Marine Corps (reminiscent of no one, but tailored to a screen image Poitier could fill). The mechanics of planning and then going forward with the siege of Manhattan is the raw energy that carries the book--tunnels blown up, bridges bombed down, communications captured and police defeated. Of course well-intentioned Shawcross, who had only agreed to raise, train and command the ""Afro-American Army of Liberation"" because he believed that white racists murdered his wife and children, finds out that Grey did this to bring him and his military expertise into the cause. And Shawcross blows the whole deal just when the national government is on the point of surrender. It's fast and it plays to (rather than lays siege to) the fears and threats of white and black militants alike. Probably destined to be an even faster movie.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1969
Publisher: Stein & Day