The Black Russian

The Black Russian

by Vladimir Alexandrov
4.0 6

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The Black Russian 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Moksha More than 1 year ago
Who knew ? A black man from Mississippi hits the big time in Czarist Russia ! How ? By business smarts and good ol' Southern hospitality. This is a great read about a spectacularly successful entertainment entrepreneur who parlayed his savvy into millions of rubles. Totally researched, it provides first hand accounts by people who crossed paths with Frederick Bruce Thomas (aka Fyodor Fyodorovich) as he made his way across America, Europe and Russia as well as fact based narrative providing a scintillating glimpse of this historical character. On his extensive travels, stopping for awhile in notable place like London, Paris, Cannes, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Venice and Vienna, Frederick continued to hone his skills and acquire business acumen. When he finally settled in Moscow, he used all that he'd learned to build an entertainment empire. For years he enjoyed unimaginable success and social cache until the Russian revolution took it from him. Making his way to Constantinople, he endeavored to build again. His story is a testament to the human spirit, and a fascinating look at 19th and early 20th C America, Europe and Russia. The author has rendered Frederick's life in 3D. This book should be optioned for a movie. It cries out for translation to the big screen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Struggled to finish this biography. Author catalogues Thomas' remarkable achievements in spite of adversity, yet leaves the reader with very little sense of the man. The writing is most engaging and insightful when the narrative focuses on such topics as Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Czarist Russia, the Otteman Empire, Jack Johnson, and the Bolshevik Revolution. Most intriguing are the legal battles his parents fought as former slaves and their story. Once beyond the prologue and the narrative dealing with Thomas' earlier life, the writing flattens, dry and dull in too many parts. Still, the work is valuable as a record of an individual whom many, including, this reader, would not have known.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Narrative non-fiction. Interesting story about an African American man who was born in the south, moved north to several places in the U.S., and eventually ends up overseas. He settles in Russia, and has an interesting life and career there in the restaurant and club scene, around the time of WWI and its aftermath. I do not want to say too much and ruin it for others because it is most definitely worth a read. I highly recommend this one, fascinating stuff!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Black Russian by Vladimir Alexandrov, who recounts the life of Frederick Thomas. Thomas was an individual who was driven to succeed in spite of immense obstacles that he encountered ranging from being a black man in the US following the civil war to the calamity of unstoppable world events. The book is very well written and engages you from start to finish. It is certainly one of the best books that I have read in a long time.
book-a-holicGK More than 1 year ago
The first part of the book was really interesting and absorbing. By the middle, it started to sag and I was hard-pressed to continue reading. The last 90 pages were excruciating. There's not a whole lot of information on Frederick Bruce Thomas (no writings, no papers) so much of what is written here is conjecture. Thomas constantly reinvented himself and exaggerated events that may not have even happened. It's certainly admirable that he was able to create this wonderful life for himself. His work ethic came from his parents. Since there is not much about him, the book has plenty of chapters on the history of Russia and Turkey and this filler can become interminable. You don't really get a sense of who Frederick Bruce Thomas really was because the writing is just not that engaging.