RED, WHITE AND BLUE by Susan Isaacs


Email this review


With keen humor and fine characterizations, the bestselling Isaacs’s (Lily White, 1996, etc.) multigenerational saga explores the nature of American identity. Opening with a description of all-American Charlie Blair, a Wyoming FBI agent on the trail of a local militia group, and then jumping to the life of Lauren Miller, a New York reporter for the Jewish News who’s uncovering the latest in anti-Semitic bombings, the narrative unexpectedly mingles their lives: unbeknownst to all, they share a great-great-grandmother and the thread of a representative tale—the struggle to become American. What or who was their missing link? On sighting the Statue of Liberty, one Herschel Blaustein proposed to little Dora Schottland (already a couple of months pregnant, thanks to a dashing cad). She prudently accepted, later bearing Jacob, who—ll become Jake Blair when he makes it to Wyoming, and Ruthie, great-grandmother to Lauren. The split family tree, with one branch entering a —traditional— American frontier life, and the other remaining Jewish and New Yorkish, offers a fascinating example of the subtle changes undertaken for assimilation’s sake (not to mention for the purposes of Isaacs’s storytelling). When the plot returns to present-day Wyoming, Lauren spots the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, he’s a new convert to Wrath, the anti-Semitic group she’s in Jackson Hole to cover. Lo and behold, that handsome piece of America is our very own Charlie Blair, undercover. As things progress, he’s in imminent danger from the various nut- cases he’s informing on. This turn of event shifts the novel’s pace, turning the last pages into a race between good guys and bad. Nevertheless, thanks to Isaacs’s graceful touch, the quality of the story is never jeopardized. Both on the large scale and the small, an absorbing chronicle of the American character. (Author tour; TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-017608-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998


FictionGOLDBERG VARIATIONS by Susan Isaacs
by Susan Isaacs
FictionAS HUSBANDS GO by Susan Isaacs
by Susan Isaacs
FictionPAST PERFECT by Susan Isaacs
by Susan Isaacs