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In Gary Phillip's ambitious novel, Freedom's Fight, we are treated to the history of African-Americans during World War II. Mr. Phillips tells this history in three loosely related storylines.
First we are introduced to Gil Giabretto who is fighting for his country in Europe, a country who has not been kind to him nor his ancestors. Gil is not who he appears to be and lives in fear that others will figure out his secret. But, his secret is safe as "Negro" soldiers are not yet assigned to the fighting front in Europe. Next up is Alma Yates, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, who is being sent around the United States to report on the colored war effort. As Alma goes about gathering her information, she becomes privy to a much bigger story that puts her life in bigger jeopardy than just reporting on the harsh treatment of colored soldiers by white officers in the United States. Last, but not least is Madison Clay who has been selected by the government to be a spy in Africa to help uncover information that is vital to the Allied side. Madison, despite being highly educated, has elected to be a soldier and has been in other possible situations, but what will he do once he realizes that he is not suppose to return from this assignment?
As a mystery writer, the author fully understands how to provide enough clues to keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next to the characters. The novel is at its best when telling the mystery of the storylines. This technique was used most effectively with Madison's story and was the most engaging. It blended mystery, history, and the treatment of African Americans well and I looked forward to reading these chapters.Read more ›
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Gary Phillips writes fictional stories of chicanery and malfeasance in various formats, often drawing on his past experiences. He is a Los Angeles native, and was born and raised in the then South Central area of the city. There he was a community activist on issues ranging from police abuse, the anti-apartheid movement and opposing the contras in Central America during the Reagan era.
His most current novel is Warlord of Willow Ridge which Booklist said of the work, "Phillips is a veteran crime novelist who creates a plausible postapocalyptic scenario in which the safety of middle-class America can dissolve in a moment. Exciting, violent, and entertaining." He has also written essays for the Robert B. Parker tribute book, In Pursuit of Spenser and for The Wire: Race, Class, and Genre. Currently with Tommy Hancock and Pro Se Press, Philips is co-editing and contributing to Black Pulp, pulp stories featuring black main characters and editing and contributing to a themed linked anthology of short stories, Night of the Insurgents, showcasing America's super spy before Bauer and Borne, Jimmy Christopher, Operator 5, for Moonstone.