THE FIDDLER ON PANTICO RUN by Joe Mozingo

THE FIDDLER ON PANTICO RUN

An African Warrior, His White Descendants, Our Search for Family

KIRKUS REVIEW

One man’s search for the origins of his name.

Mozingo is a white reporter for the Los Angeles Times whose family name often puzzled him. He had heard a range of stories about its origins, but most of them were shrouded in mystery. The author embarked on a journey for answers, resulting in this wide-ranging quest through archives and libraries and across the world to places such as Jamestown, Va., and the West African nation of Cameroon. Jamestown evokes the foundation of what would become the United States, while Cameroon and the coast of West Africa evoke the stain of American slavery. Mozingo discovered that his surname is not Italian or Basque or any of a dozen other possibilities that floated around family lore. The author is a descendent of Edward Mozingo, a former slave from West Africa who sued for his freedom in a court in Virginia in the late 1600s and emerged victorious. This book follows Mozingo as he solves as much of the mystery as the record, frail human memory and oral tradition allowed. Although his prose can run purple and his history occasionally potted, the author, a dogged reporter, largely makes his personal history come alive. He successfully places his family’s tale in the larger context of the tortuous history of race in America, connecting his personal genealogy to the tides of American history during the era of slavery.

Mozingo sought answers about his name, and therefore his identity, that had long vexed him. This book provides the response to that inquiry and much more.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-2748-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2012




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