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White Man's Grave: A Novel Paperback – March 15, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (March 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031213214X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312132149
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dooling's novel about a Peace Corps volunteer missing in Africa and the two men-his naive friend and his boastful father-who try to use American influence to find him was a 1994 National Book Award finalist.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Behind the fairly simple story of a Peace Corps volunteer missing in West Africa and a friend's search to find him, one feels that some larger significance is brooding and expects it to appear at any moment. Unfortunately, it never does. The pace is fast, the style lush, and the atmosphere slightly ominous; there is plenty of action, adventure, and suspense; but somehow Dooling has not quite managed to make it all come alive. The result has to be one of the longest shaggy-dog stories on record. The book would have been better if the author had curbed his tendency to overexpansiveness and exercised a little control of his material. A potentially good novel that does not quite make it.
A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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All in all, this is an above average book, but the end of the book is unsatisfying.
sculptor@insnet.com
I was introduced to Dooling by my dad, who is a radiologist and book collector in Warren, MI.
M. G. Edwards
Not to mention the ending which rivals stephen king and alfred hitchcock, very good stuff.
A. Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
Richard Dooling wrote White Man's Grave, and effectively threw the gantlet down at the Michael Crieghtons and Tom Clancys of the literary world.
The novel is an in your face look at the contradiction that is the modern American society. Dooling puts the typical young American (Boone) in the topsy-turvy world of Sierra-Leone, and creates a modern version of Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The great part is that he didn't have to revert to talking talking rabbits to do it.
White Man's Grave moves quickly. I know I found myself paging through it one day (over a year since I had read it) and before I knew it I was on the 20th page.
This kind of book stares Hollywood in the face and says,"Go ahead, try to make me into a movie. I dare you." I very seriously doubt this book will ever be crafted into a Spielberg blockbuster, and it's just as well. It's a great book, and deserves to be recognized as just that
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is so engaging, I took the time to write a review--a first for me. This is without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year. It is by turns scaldingly satiric and ironic, descriptive and informative, and just ambiguous enough to leave the reader intellectually juiced up at the end! This tale invites the imagination to soar, and the soul to search. Highest recommendation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Lipsky on June 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I read the author's "Critical Care" and liked his humor and his apparent medical knowledge or research, so I read this novel. I had visited Africa for two days during two cruise ship stops. What I read was mind boggling over what I saw with my eyes. I certainly know more about Africa than I ever knew before, and unlike college, smiled my way through Africa 101 with the author as Tutor.Loved his humor. A good read. I am hooked for his future works.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kiserea@muohio.edu on November 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
"White Man's Grave" is one of those novels that continue to have an effect on you long after you've read it. It's a funny, unflinching look at greed in America and how oblivious we are to it. This is one of the best books I've read for a while and I've recommended it to friends many times. Read it - you won't be sorry!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
White Man's Grave is reminiscent of Conrad's Heart of Darkness in its descriptions of a westerner becoming increasingly entangled in the ominous world of an alien jungle. Behind the obvious irony of contrasting life of a lawyer with life in the bush (which he does with some really apt metaphors), Dooling forces us to ask: What is civilization? To what extent is any culture just a comfortable reality built upon an agreed-upon set of beliefs? Describing "magic" in matter-of-fact terms, Dooling offers no explanation of its source, demanding that the reader take on the impossible task of reconciling magic with "western" "reality."
The character of Boone is far too simplistic. As a student of the humanities, in the western world (sleeping in a cemetary in Paris), Boone is sympathetic to the possibilities of thought and metaphor. But once he reaches Africa, he more and more resembles Lewis in his intolerance. Perhaps this highlights the limitations of western liberal studies; but the Lewis/Boone vs. Sisay/Killigan polarization became cartoonish by the end and detracted from the pure description of the world of the Mende.
The end is far too abrupt. After so many warnings about the dangers of the bush and of the baboon people, when Boone finally enters that world, it is anticlimactic. Once Killigan shows up, the story becomes a western spy story; Dooling passes up an opportunity to reveal the complexities of politics and culture of Sierra Leone in even more vivid and challenging detail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Rick Dooling is a man who knows what to love and what to hate. He manages to create a world that looks a lot like ours, with characters just a little bit bigger than reality but close enough that they seem to be people we recognize, and as such, vivid, juicy, and alive. He skewers crisply but fairly--life in this book is very complicated. And the smug--including most of Western culture--are forced to rethink just what they believe about how the world is assembled. Not malicious, not whiny, not grumpy--just excellent satire. I wish it had been a bit longer--the ending feels jumbled upon itself, but funny, sharp, taut, and clever. Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
A spoiled, rich, caucasion joins the Peace Corps and travels to Sierra Leone to "help out." He is co-opted by the Tribe and eventually lost to his family. While his father frets and goes neurotic, a high school chum heads to Africa to "help out." Dooling manages to skewer everyone. The story is worthy but I think the characters are stronger. This is a seriously good novel
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Moore on November 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
first our erstwhile anti-hero expects a few terse words in the right places will solve everything but not so in fact words are of almost no use when other means of communication are in process. READ THIS BOOK. Particularly if you are from or still residing in the Midwest, if you want to find a person or a memory but, and most particularly, if you want to read an incredible serious realistic and fun to read book that is an education into american litigation as well as a very decent introduction to Sierra Leone culture. Not to mention the ending which rivals stephen king and alfred hitchcock, very good stuff.
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