Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

by G. A. Beller

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Not Black and White: From the Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite Not Black and White: From the Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by G.A. Beller is a dramatic historical novel that explores the events leading up to the rise of a street politician who ultimately became the first Negro-American president, and how two state governors got imprisoned. The reader is suddenly thrown into a world of real politics, with the stabbings-in-the-back, the closed door meetings, the corruption, and the maneuvering that happens in political circles. Readers are introduced to a compelling cast of characters, drawn into the political world where the crooked become millionaires and the innocents are run over. Not Black and White: From the Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue does not read like fiction. It is a story that forces the reader to stare the day-to-day reality of American men and women in the face. Readers will love the historical references and how the author reminds them of important people in contemporary history. The writing is clinically polished, flawless, and lyrical. The reader is enticed with the beauty of the prose, which features excellent descriptions and insightful passages. The social and political commentaries are compelling and the reader is left in no doubt that this is a well-researched novel. G.A. Beller has the gift of character and plot, but what will surprise readers is the author’s ability to make the setting come alive in their minds. This is a very engaging and entertaining story with powerful political undertones. It will entertain you and it will make you think about the American reality.
cvasquez More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars "Not Black and White” is a hard-hitting, evocative look at ‘real-life’ politics and Chicago-style corruption at its finest. G.A. Beller has the ability to keep the reader totally engaged throughout the entire story, and that is no small feat considering the various of multi layered plotlines, diverse set of characters that come and go, and wildly fluctuating scenery and events and time periods... You want to keep reading it but at the same time you have to stop to think about it all and let it sink in as it is intense in the subject matter at certain points, and heartwarming and charming at other times. The ending is nice and although not exactly what we hope would await each of the characters, it works well for the story. I’d love to read more from Mr. Beller someday. Great characters… great writing… great storylines. Fantastic!
BookPrincessSF More than 1 year ago
I LOVE to read, but live a hugely busy life. It gets more complicated upon that rare occasion when a book is so captivating, so enthralling, that it is impossible to walk away. With only definitive hours in a day, something has to give. For me, that was sleep! And it was worth every sacrificed minute. “Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave” was the grand slam home run and exceeded my wildest expectations and I would bet, maybe yours, as well. It reads almost like a sweeping epic of politics in modern day America, biting and gritty, and ugly….. Characters we will recognize easily as modern day power players, as well as a look “behind the curtain’ to expose much of the ugly goings-on that most Americans are blissfully ignorant of. Politics is a corrupt game on the best of days, but Chicago has a reputation for being particularly dirty and it all comes to life here in this book that is a great mix of real life and invented scenarios that really makes you wonder which is which. Great job.
AprilDawn More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story and could not put it down, and as I read this book I really began to care about the characters and was anxious to see how things would turn out for them. However, I thought sometimes the narrative went on too long though and would have liked to see more active plot progression through direct character dialogue instead of just reading about everything. And sometimes I didn’t feel like we needed to know “everything” about ‘everything”… beaning sometimes I felt there was too much backstory for the characters and events and felt like overall the focus was looser than I like. I prefer to have books have a more distinct arc, and while this one eventually did, it seemed to take some time to become clear wheat it was. But I did enjoy it for the writing and the characters and the fact that it felt so reflective of our current political scene. I would read more from Mr. Beller and would recommend to others.
essieh More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this ‘novel’ by G.A. Beller. I put novel in quotes because I feel its is more of a documentary than a made-up piece of literature. There’s lots of action, great character and plot development, flashes of humor, and some surprisingly emotional moments. Some characters are on occasion paper-thin, but they’re mostly likable and serve a purpose, and the heroes are easy to root for and the bad guys are easy to hate – although it’s not always easy to distinguish the two (it’s not black and white – more like a gray area). The political world Beller creates feels like a composite of familiar elements, but there is enough originality so that I don’t feel like I’ve read it before… Beller is great at breaking down the unfolding plot into manageable chunks so as not to overshadow the suspense element, and as the story unfolds and you put all those pieces together, you can see that there’s more complexity here than you’d initially expect. I liked the ‘local’ element and thought it added a deeper layer to the believable political setting. A fast paced read that I didn’t want to put down, especially towards the end. Hope there will be more like this soon!
GillianH More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars to be honest, it took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going…after the intriguing beginning it seemed to sink into a really slow period of dense telling narrative that really slowed the pacing for me. But I knew from reading the other reviews that this was an amazing, complex story so I just kept going and let the book go where it needed to… and the more I read the more I got into it, and then by half way I was totally hooked!! Mr. Beller did a great job at creating some really interesting characters and also in keeping us on our toes… some surprising events at the end, and I was so curious to see how it would all work out, but it did in a way that makes you wonder just how much really goes on that the public at large isn’t aware of when it comes to the shape of our country, and how things really work! Intelligent, complex, visionary, and will force you to think outside of your comfort zone, “Not Black and White” is a compelling read that will have great appeal due to its relevant subject matter that affects all Americans, whether they want to realize it or not.
JesseThomas More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books in this arena, so this is a genre I’m fairly familiar with. Although “Not Black and White” lacks the extreme detailing and depth of others I’ve read, nonetheless, it was an engaging novel that held my interest and made me think. I enjoyed the various POV’s Beller employs to show us the different motivations and ramifications of the unfolding course of action, and how the storylines weave together in a tension filled climactic ending. This author crafts an authentic, engrossing novel that haunts you long after you are done, and makes you questions how much is real. Looking forward to reading more from G.A. Beller.
JTHACK More than 1 year ago
I thought it to be very good—excellent writing and a compelling, realistic plot set against a familiar background. I like the fact that it is a fully-realized political thriller, action adventure without all the bloat that can sometimes weigh down a complex book like this one. Beller fills you in as we go without getting bogged down in describing every last thing, but still maintains great character and plot integrity. The story moves forward and you can't help but get sucked into Beller’s strong narrative, and liked “Mars’ Memoirs”. And I haven't even begun to talk about the characters, which were authentic and move the story forward nicely. Some similar themes and motifs found in political thriller/suspense lore, but G.A. Beller does a fantastic job of putting his own unique spin on them. Recommend for mature fans of literary drama/thrillers with a realistic angle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars for the most part “Not Black and White” by GA Beller was an enjoyable, almost intoxicating mix of an entertaining action adventure and a complex drama with darker literary motifs (if this makes sense). However at times the impersonal narrative voice made it difficult to get involved in the story, and I frequently felt emotionally detached from all the action. Seemed like it lost focus on several occasions and I really wondered about the need to have so many characters come and go,…While they're still interesting characters, sometimes they don't drive the plot forward fast enough. At times I thought there wasn’t enough tension, and the pace slowed down instead of picking up. The writing and world building is quite solid, however, and as far as the actual story itself I was hooked… after about 1/4 way through. But once I was in I was dying to see what would happen and the ending (the epilogue) was great. A very broad and astute look at the world of politics and the complexities of human nature under the best and worst of circumstances. Recommend.
JhonniP More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars First, I have to say that I don’t normally read books that are about politics, but considering what is happening with our elections today and the state our country is in because of Obama, I was curious to see what this book had to say. Color me impressed!! And I was surprised to read that this is the author’s first fiction novel. There is such strong, vivid writing, and the characters are all fascinating, flawed, and going through their own problems. Liked Mars, Sam, Malik…Everything just felt “authentic” for lack of a better word. Dialogue, interactions, scenes, descriptions…All in all a very good read that I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! And you may notice some familiar “characters” as well.
RepoManJM More than 1 year ago
lately I’ve been in a rut of putting down books and not picking them up again because I lost interest at one point and just never continued. This was definitely not the case with this book, “Not Black and White” by G.A. Beller! From the very beginning of the book we are drawn into this seedy political underworld and the action flowed seamlessly from one page to the next, and was unpredictable and shocking enough to make me just *have* to see what would happen next. Not formulaic or cookie-cutter at all, even though there are plenty of “familiar elements” necessary for a political action thriller. I was impressed with Beller’s writing style and will look for more works from him in the future
MegKing More than 1 year ago
awesome. Once I started reading “Not Black and White” I didn’t want to put it down until I’d finished. Seemed never a good place just to stop for a while as the action continued to build and build. Some ‘not far out there’ scenarios that come to life, in a way that makes you wonder what is really going on behind the scenes, and just how much corruption and shenanigans affect every level of politics. I personally feel that there could have been a bit more depth to some of the characters, and some scenes seemed a bit too rushed. Liked the ending, though, and didn’t expect some things to happen that did. For those who enjoy drama and politics this is a good one for you.
SDecker More than 1 year ago
whoa,… what an insane book! Holy bananas!! Okay, I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens and I don’t want to give anything away… “Not Black and White…” by author G.A. Beller is one of the most original and just flat-out interesting thriller fiction novels I’ve ever read. I liked it for so many different reasons, first the writing was stellar. The strong word choice and fluid, fast-paced narrative and witty dialogue makes it a very easy book to sink into. There are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. Because of the overarching storylines relating to real events (or plausible hypotheticals) it just felt more “intelligent” than I expected and extremely relevant to today’s political landscape. It makes you think a bit what’s really going on, and worse – what could possibly happen. Recommend for fans of political thriller/suspense.
NikkyH7117 More than 1 year ago
great writing, great action, great characters, great plot…. Overall a terrific read that I feel really opened my eyes to the seedy underbelly of corruption on every level as it permeates our political system from different perspectives. I admit this isn’t really my normal genre of reading, but the sample pulled me in, but considering this is so closely based on Obama’s ascendency (and others as well) it was really worth reading more about and learning more about the way the system really works. This isn’t a nonfiction book, but there is enough truth in here to give you pause. I thought the writing was descriptive and the characters (especially Mars) really helped bring the story to life in a relatable way. I can totally see this book as being a movie. Recommend.
BenjisMom More than 1 year ago
It took me some time to get into this book, and at first I wasn’t really sure where it was going. But the more I read the more I got into it, the more wrapped up I got in this world and characters G.A. Beller created. It’s weird to think it’s actually fiction as parts really seem real, and are relatable to current times. I have a feeling that this book and the characters and their fates will stay with me for some time. I thought the overall plot and narration was good, but it could have used a bit more polish as there was some long stretches of ‘telling’ of the events (as opposed to ‘showing’ us to bring us closer to the action). It’d didn’t ruin the book, but would make it better if was more intimately connected, in my opinion. Nevertheless I look forward to reading more from Mr. Beller in the future as he is truly a gifted storyteller AND writer (not necessarily the same thing)…
KMatthews More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved “Not Black and White”, and I’m usually pretty on the fence about a lot of these types of books…The characters all had their own distinct personalities and enough quirkiness so as not to feel like the cliché stereotypes, but you can tell when they are being based on a real person. All the characters were very different and we never knew their motives entirely so the book left you guessing as you read without making it predictable. Plot was never boring and kept on rolling. (I would give you a summary, but there were so many subplots that it would take forever). Writing was smooth and the descriptions made you feel like you were right there in the action, especially because there are so many character povs, and Mars’ journal entries gave added insights as well. Though the epilogue was great – nice touch. A compelling read and definitely worth my time. Recommend for fans of Bill O’Reilly, Tom Clancy, Brad Thor, Joe Klein…
JGoldmanJG More than 1 year ago
this book “Not Black and White” by G.A. Beller seems to have something of everything… seriously. Action, suspense, drama, political strife, personal struggles, family life, humor, and sadness….but I was impressed by the seamless narrative and various POV transitions with the different characters, and while I’m not usually a fan of dense ‘telling’ narrative prose with little dialogue for stretches, it didn’t bother me here much as I enjoyed Mr. Beller’s skillful word-play and the way that the characters did a great job of progressing the storyline. A modern day/ loosely ‘biographical’ novel that blends fact with fiction and with more tangents and sub plots than many others I’ve read, lately. There is a dynamic cast of characters who have their own stories to tell and conflicts to overcome. Always found myself reading for longer than I planned to, as there was never a place I’d get to and then wanted to “stop”. This is good too. This book will have wide ranging appeal, with its great mix of fact and fiction and flawless editing, I can see fans of literary drama and political suspense gobbling it up.
-Cale-Owens- More than 1 year ago
no lack of explosive drama here! Try and be bored reading this… just try. I dare ya! But seriously, this was one roller coaster ride that I was not expecting. It’s a fast read, one I finished in just a few settings, and the brisk narrative is perfect tempo for a book of this genre. Mr. Beller uses great word economy and doesn’t bore us with too many unnecessary details. Fast, focused, and to the point, “Not Black and White” is a frighteningly realistic look at what happens in our country and how corrupt and unethical many political entities and people can be. It’s all just a big game, and one that is fascinating, and somewhat depressing to read because it is clear that much of this is all too real, even though this book is supposedly ‘fiction’. Riveting and addicting, “Not Black and White” is sure to please fans of political thrillers and contemporary drama.
SherriWarner More than 1 year ago
a fantastic read by G.A. Beller. Overall the pacing was decent, with adequate action and elements of danger and mystery, and the book just flew by very quickly for me. I appreciate the energetic manner of storytelling that was employed by Beller. Reads very quickly, even literary almost, even when covering ugly scenes. Very true-to-life, like you can tell that Beller knows well the subjects in which he writes. There are lots of characters here, with nary a ‘dull’ part…… plenty of high stakes at hand to keep us engaged throughout, and an unexpected ending to the climax. I like how ‘big’ this book feels, in terms of geopolitics and locales and characters and plotlines. A riveting read and while it’s not perfect, it’s very eye-opening and entertaining.
MaxG456 More than 1 year ago
fast-paced, high-stakes thriller with exciting twists and turns that keep you in suspense for hours! In a way this is modeled after a classic political-suspense, but it really impressed me by its originality in many areas and terrific detailing and a substantial (and genuinely clever) plot. Belller is a talented author whose creative vision breaks new ground but follows comfortingly familiar elements. This is a story that kept me glued to the pages for hours, lost within an interesting world that fascinated (and sometimes frightened) me to no end. I have to say that I noticed the editing was perfect, there were some times where I felt there could be some cutting down of some subplots that seems to just add more confusion than necessary , and the last 10% or so felt strangely anticlimactic after the intense buildup… Still a riveting journey that entertained, and I will gladly read more from G.A. Beller. Recommend to mature fans of literary political thrillers.
SBEACHER More than 1 year ago
one thing I like about this book by G.A. Beller is that his narrative prose is some of the best and most authentic I’ve read in a while, the way he brings the scenes to life and the attention to historical and cultural and political details that gave this story genuine authenticity. I actually feel like I learned something about political affairs and perspectives had a fun time doing it.. It is action/drama/philosophy/adventure all in one, and while it still has the familiar vibe that most political thrillers have and with events (like the Obama birth certificate among others) and characters that we will clearly recognize, it still feels fresh and original enough and is definitely unpredictable, especially towards the end. It is more than just the classic story of “right and wrong”, (as the title itself implies) and really encompasses so much more of the human condition – and it is also funny at times, despite being so ‘dark’. I chuckled at some of the dialogue and really enjoyed watching the characters evolve as the story progressed. Thought it wrapped up well and I was satisfied with how it all played out. Recommend.
TabithaP1 More than 1 year ago
this was a very original take on ‘fiction’ for me, and at times it seemed like I was reading a recounting of something “real” that had happened, even though that is obviously not the case. I know that all fiction novels are like that (realistic-feeling stories that are made up), but this one was exceptionally so…. It starts off with some decent backstory to set up the scene and ground the reader in the world-building, which the author G.A. Beller does a wonderfully convincing job of creating a believable scenario… even if at times it does seem a bit far-fetched, one only has to have to have some knowledge of the history of the world to know that NOTHING is off limits or ‘too far-fetched’ to happen, ESPECIALLY when it comes to politics. The author also has a great “voice” in spinning these complex and intelligent plotlines all together where it keeps us totally hooked, but doesn’t get too convoluted. The writing was so easy to get lost in and flowed smoothly. Clean narrative and authentic dialogue with the characters lent a deeper layer of credibility against the fully developed and well-researched plot. Great job.
LeoG2 More than 1 year ago
"Not Black and White: From the Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave” is a timely, compelling read, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of political novels/biographies (like Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Joe Klein, Bill O’Reilly…). Although the concept isn’t entirely new, G.A. Beller brings an exciting fresh voice and infuses a unique blend of political turmoil, emotional and personal backstory (with the characters and their motives) true-to life events and characters, corruption, and shocking twists. The story itself was fairly fast paced, and even though some parts were sort of predictable, there were some things that honestly surprised me. The writing and plot is dynamic and VERY relevant and I recommend for fans of political books who’d like a crazy ride on the dark side.
LaylaM1 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I’ve read by this author G.A. Beller, but I certainly hope it’s not the last. He has a gift for writing descriptive and life-like scenes that make us feel like we are really there inside the story, as opposed to it all just being rehashed to us and keeping us away from the action and the character’s emotions as so many rookie authors make the mistake of doing. I like that this book didn’t feel stale or derivative, but instead like a new niche of ‘real life’ political suspense that serves well to help diversify a somewhat cookie-cutter genre (in my opinion). I did think some parts could have been pared down a bit more because on occasion there would be things that would “happen” (or talked about) but didn’t really serve a specific purpose. But overall the entire novel was one that I thought was impressive and kept me reading night after night. Thought the ending was perfect, and I am looking forward to more from G.A. Beller.
BellaReadz More than 1 year ago
From the opening pages of “Not Black and White” I knew it would be different from the books I’ve been reading lately and I was right! Mr. Beller sets up the scene and characterizations in a skillful way that not only pulls us in right away, but creates great visualizations and elicits emotional investments. The name of the book comes from the fact that much is done in the ‘gray area’ in politics, and corruption and shady dealings are prevalent on both sides of the aisle. The storyline is gritty, and truly scary if you really think about it, but it is no secret that the history of gangland politics in Chicago has left more than one corpse in its wake, and put some pretty suspect characters into positions of great power. I truly cared about the characters’ fates, and was shocked and saddened at certain things (no spoilers). An interesting and diverse cast of characters, flawed, and with power (some without) along with several intriguing and frighteningly realistic plotlines interwoven against a politically volatile setting makes this a moving and memorable read.