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Shaft Mass Market Paperback – 1971

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st THUS edition (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000NZYZZS
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,182,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Joel B. Kirk on September 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I approached this novel after viewings of the 1971 film. I still was lost, as Ernest Tidyman's writing - for this novel, at least - goes in and out of inner monologues without any notification who is actually doing the monologue. Also, the plot isn't really clear: Shaft is supposed to find the daughter of a Harlem mobster (here named Knocks Parsons, differing from his movie counterpart in name and physical stature) but there is also the matter of gangland wars occurring, and black revolutionaries being involved in the matter. It seems like Italian mobsters want Harlem and have kidnapped Knock's daughter to blackmail him into handing over his turf and they are doing this by framing or inciting war with black revolutionaries, and eventually Shaft asks Buford and Knocks to create a riot in a predominantly white neighborhood in order to save the daughter. It's confusing. Too, I think the movie was more credible in handling the daughter's rescue, since it is a straight-forward rescue.

Shaft seems to be impulsive in this novel, and not a clear thinker. For example, he kills a mobster in cold blood who is supposedly leading him to the kidnapped girl. However, based on the described circumstances, Shaft doesn't know what is behind the door at the location the mobster led him to, and killing said mobster seems to kill his lead to the girl.

As for the love interests, there are two Shaft girls in this novel: Ellie and Valerie. Ellie is arguably Caucasian here in the novel based on the description of blue-grey eyes and pale, white flesh, but "black" in the film; of course, she could be biracial, but Tidyman doesn't give any evidence of this. Valerie is a girl Shaft meets at his usual hangout, the No Name Bar; in the film she was named "Linda," I believe.

Overall, a passable introduction to the John Shaft character, but there are stronger books featuring the character that followed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 007 on June 5, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
To anyone who likes the hard boiled detective stories, pick this up. I was surprised to find out that Shaft was a book character before he became a movie star. This series reads much like a black version of Mike Hammer. Very cool!
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By Golgotha 23 on November 16, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Pretty solid, if you care enough to know were Shaft as a character, mean, determined, angry, cool, takes nonsense from no one, but like most pulp fiction, it's pretty forgettable, I would like to see a reprint of the whole series.
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By Curtis Brown on January 5, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
fast delivery and great book a must read
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