The Strivers' Row spy / Jason Overstreet.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First Kensington hardcover edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: After graduating from college and an impulsive marriage to independent artist Loretta, Sidney Temple is tapped by J. Edgar Hoover to be the FBI's first African-American agent. The higher Sidney and Loretta climb in Harlem's most influential and glamorous circles, the more dangerous the stakes.
    • Notes:
      Includes reading group guide.
    • ISBN:
      9781496701763 (hbk.)
      1496701763 (hbk.)
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:


Booklist Reviews 2016 May #1

Debuting novelist Overstreet dares to mix pulse-racing spy fiction and seminal historical figures of 1920s Harlem, bringing the popular separatist Marcus Garvey and his trained African Legionnaires and UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association), along with famed integrationist historian W. E. B. DuBois and the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), vividly to life as flesh-and-blood men passionate in their conflicting views on how to foster better circumstances for "colored" Americans. We meet lead character Sidney Temple at his college graduation in Vermont in 1919, when he is secretly recruited to join the Bureau of Investigation headed by J. Edgar Hoover. The bureau hopes that Temple and other agents of color can better infiltrate UNIA and the NAACP and bring down both leaders in accord with Hoover's wrong-headed belief that social equality of the races, however achieved, could only be a communist plot to overthrow the U.S. government. Temple ably navigates the double (arguably triple) life of a spy with family, friends, and racist colleagues. So convincing is Overstreet that readers will forget that these events never actually happened. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews Newsletter

As a member of a black bourgeois family in 1920s Harlem, Sidney Temple benefits from having a college education. Shortly after graduation, he's plucked by the FBI to keep an eye on two African American leaders who are at odds with each other, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois. Sidney is suspicious of Garvey's "Back to Africa" movement and wonders where he gets his money, but he also wants to alert Du Bois of Garvey's actions. Soon our hero, who enjoys the Harlem Renaissance atmosphere of artists and musicians, is playing both sides against the middle. A demanding FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, wants results, and Sidney has to endure blatant racism from his coworkers. The more Sidney learns about Garvey's inner circle, the more danger he encounters. Perhaps the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Strivers' Row isn't that safe. Despite the challenges of leading a double life, Sidney remains loyal to his work. Debut author Overstreet evokes the excitement and jazzy atmosphere of an era and a city in which black artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals created a cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. VERDICT With so few popular historical fiction titles written by and about African American historical figures, this is a fine choice for all collections.—Rollie Welch, Lee Cty. P.L., Lehigh Acres, FL (c) Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

LJ Reviews 2016 November #1

Overstreet's debut introduces Sidney Temple, the FBI's first African American agent, as he keeps an eye on rival leaders Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois in 1920s Harlem. Solid local color and involving historical details. (African American Fiction and More, 5/18/16). Copyright 2016 Library Journal.