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Rich Man's Coffin

Kenneth Gardner

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Xlibris Corp

Published : 2002

Copyright : Kenneth Gardner 2002

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4010-4969-9
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4010-4969-0

Publisher's Write-Up

Before Melville even thought about writing Moby Dick, an American slave was living a daring and dangerous life on the open seas. Forget what you know about ´Pip´ or any other limited African-American stereotype in a classic novel. Black Jack White was a real man who was born during the War of 1812 in the oppressive South.

In the story of his life, Rich Man´s Coffin, he decides to change his fate at an early age; and at a time when the Underground Railroad was in its infancy, this courageous young man overcame the odds to escape to the North.

His daring escape was merely the beginning of his bold journey, as he soon found himself on a whaling ship bound for New Zealand - a harrowing four-month voyage. Finding himself in a distant and foreign land, his simple plan to become a wealthy whaler soon took a strange twist; and he found himself thrust into the violent life of the local cannibals.

Love conquered him though, and he used his love to conquer the cannibals. He became a hero to white men and natives alike; and in the end he found peace through all the social turbulence of his times.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Denise M. Clark (011202) Rating (8/10)

Review by Denise M. Clark
Rating 8/10
Based on a true-life figure, Rich Man's Coffin is a novel revolving around the life of 'Black Jack' White, a former slave who escapes from captivity in his native Mississippi in 1828 and ultimately finds work on a whaling vessel in New York. He sails around the Cape to Australia and New Zealand as a cabin boy. Upon his arrival in the South Pacific however, his life undergoes major changes.

Rich in historical details, customs and dialog, Mr. Gardner has written an ambitious tale with his story of Arthur H. Alesworth, a black man who shrugged off the chains of slavery to become a valued member of the indigenous tribe of Maori who live in New Zealand. The novel sweeps the reader into a captivating world of whaling, Maori customs, lifestyle, massacres and forbidden love.

With an easy flowing narrative style, Mr. Gardner brings the South Pacific alive until the reader can literally feel the sting of sea spray and smell the whale fat boiling in cauldrons on the beach. In addition, his ability to breathe life into a historical character is very well done without taking outrageous liberties with the truth, creating a semi-documentary approach to explore the life of a fascinating yet little known character of the early 1800's and beyond.
Denise M. Clark (1st December 2002)

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