ABOUT THE BOOK
"A thoughtful reflection on race and ambition in America." ~ Kirkus Reviews - May 2016
"It is eminently readable...a compelling tale that rings disturbingly true." ~ Blueink Reviews - April 2016
William Herbert, known to everyone by his middle name, Gordon, grows up in Trinidad dreaming of bigger things and takes a job aboard the SS Mariposa in January 1915. He spends grueling nights shoveling coal in the boiler room, but takes pleasure in the work. The ship has electric lights, modern plumbing, radio navigation devices, and comfortable passenger staterooms; it is a floating symbol of all that is modern in the twentieth century.
Craving this newness and the opportunity to make his mark on the world, he jumps ship in New York even though he knows he could be deported. He slips into the streets of Harlem, works his way through Howard University Academy, and ultimately makes his way to the trenches of World War I, where he serves as a second lieutenant with the Buffalo Soldiers as he seeks his rightful place in America.
He expects racism from mainstream America, but is surprised to experience it also from Americans of color who view Caribbean immigrants as unwanted competitors for scarce jobs.
Whether it's dealing with the mob that chases him through the dangerous streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen, battling German soldiers, or facing his most insidious enemy - his own military commanders who resent black officers - Gordon never stops reaching for his dreams in A Place near the Front.