Kingsblood Royal — Book Review

(From this Saturday forward, each week I will present a book review or a mini-book review or at least say something about some “book” that I am reading or have read. Here goes:)

Sinclair Lewis’ little post-war fable set in a northern-US, any-small-city, is probably as relevant and timely now as when it was written. As a “text” it should be used in high schools and colleges when studying the history of racism in this country and trying to understand why exactly it is that the idea of a black man in the White House drives some folks crazy. Sure there’s a bit of hagiography when he writes about the very educated, forthright, courageous and dignified Negros encountered by our reluctant hero once he opens his eyes, but then again these were probably exactly the type of people that Lewis knew and on whom he would model his characters. The edition I read was a paperback, used but in mint condition with a deliciously pulpy cover.

3 thoughts on “Kingsblood Royal — Book Review

  1. Is this better than the Human Stain?

    As a Jew, wonder if a book where an Israeli finds out his grandfather or something was really Palestinian. What would that story be like.

    1. I never actually read The Human Stain, but from what I’ve read of it, it sounds like a book Roth probably should not have written.

      Kingsblood Royal is actually an “easy” read, again more of a fable. One of the things I like about is that I didn’t like either Kingsblood or his wife when the novel starts. Not only did they both have the common racist attitudes of average white people, they were just a typical materialistic young couple vying for social standing and desperate to move up in the world. That Kingsblood is actually proud of his black ancestor — who was a true American hero — is a testament to his own character and the possibility of growth in all of us. His wife too, grows but it takes her a bit more time, and Kingsblood is patient in allowing her to do so.

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