THE W.A.S.P. by Julius Horwitz


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The author has written what is essentially a morality parable about the here and now of Negro/white relations and in doing so tosses the whole black book at the reader. Atrocities, murder, addiction, rats, homosexuality, right down to black babies being tossed out of Harlem windows--it's all here in a relentless dirge. S.T. West is the W.A.S.P. who lived trying to understand, to deal with the problem and died because of it. He spent the latter part of his life in search of a murderer: ""We need a murder that forces us to open our eyes"" and he found one in ex-divinity student Thomas Emerson. Emerson, an educated Negro, gave up the ministry because ""I couldn't get an appointment with God."" He now runs a store front church in Harlem and it is his passion that plays across these pages. Because West was right, Emerson ""was really a murderer, a murderer who, once he found his victim, would commit a murder that would reveal to America the crime against blackness."" Part of the crime is welfare where ""there exists a world where the only thing of value is failure"" and it is tenanted by despair and a self-propagating whirlpool of helplessness, hopelessness. The author has an acute understanding of the problems. So much so that the book offers little in the way of hope. And one wonders if the senses are dulled rather than sharpened by this dramatization that bombards endlessly. But it's a powerful, painful piece, not to be put down.

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 1967
Publisher: Atheneum