The Duke Don't Dance

The Duke Don't Dance

by Richard Sharp

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Compressed between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom were those who became known to some by the ill-chosen name of the Silent Generation. They were those born too late to share in the triumph of the great victory, too early to know only the privilege of the American empire and in too few numbers to assure themselves a proper identity and proper legacy. Despite those attributes, they invented rock and roll, filled the streets in the struggle for racial equality, bled in the heated precipitates of the cold war and opened the doors to the sexual revolution and feminism, her serious-minded sister. Their triumph lay not in their completion of these transitions, but in their survival through them. The Duke Don't Dance follows the adult lives of men and women who made that journey.

The title refers to a line of graffiti encountered by the protagonists. At first speculating that "the Duke"written on the wall refers to John Wayne, Duke Ellington, Duke Snyder or other Dukes of the day, they finally agree to consider it prophetic. No duke, such as used biblically to represent a lord of good or evil, will save their generation. No, they must dance for themselves.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014811460
Publisher: Richard Sharp
Publication date: 02/16/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 262
File size: 334 KB

About the Author

Richard Sharp confesses to being a member of the "Silent Generation," the subject of his current fiction writing. Born in 1941 into a farming family who had migrated to rural Colorado from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, he traveled east as a young adult to receive degrees from Harvard and Princeton Universities. His writing is enriched from career experiences across America and in some four dozen countries, spanning the Vietnam War era through the present. Following years in the Washington, DC area, with assignments mainly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union, Mr Sharp now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Duke Don't Dance is his third novel written for personal pleasure, and the first to be published.

Sharp's preoccupation as a novelist is in tracing over time his protagonists' attitudes and emotions as they evolve with the changing culture of their times - or, despite the advance of life, their stubborn adherence to spirits that served them well at critical junctures in their personal histories. Love may not be time's fool, as the sonnet reads, but those who populate his pages are fools in some respects, wise in others, but mostly tenacious in defending both inclinations. Sharp's characters are not static and they are neither heroes nor villains. His writing is based on the premise that few men or women can be solely one or the other over the decades, no matter how hard they try, but some may find redemption in the journey. Or, at least learn to be amused by it.

"The Duke Don't Dance," reflecting Sharp's impious take on life's voyages, fills a niche in fiction markets that is under-saturated. While a vast literature covers the Greatest Generation and its baby boom descendants, few novels address the intermediate generation of those born in the 1930s through mid-1940s, and coming into adulthood only after the war's end. The Silent Generation includes individuals honored in biography and fiction. However, portraits of the generation as contemporaneous individuals migrating through a common cultural and social milieu are largely absent. Overshadowed by the surrounding generations, the Silent Generation's accomplishments in music and the arts and its roles in the struggle for racial equality, the cold war conflicts, sexual revolution and feminist awakening achieved much, albeit with many false steps and much sacrifice.

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The Duke Don't Dance 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
M_Cesar More than 1 year ago
This story starts out with a bunch of people attending a private gathering to pay their respects to Frank the day before his military funeral at Arlington. However it quickly becomes clear that this group of people have a tangled past of secrets and experiences, tensions rise resulting in Franks pants being pulled down on him whilst he lays in his coffin. From here the story jumps back into the past, arriving in 1960 and follows the story of several characters mentioned at the funeral, including Frank himself. As time moves on, their lives intertwine in a mix of events whilst historic world events occur around them such as Vietnam and the JFK assassination. Richard Sharp has fantastically developed characters which evolve very realistically through their stages of life, from youth to middle age and parenthood to retirement. I found this interesting noting how some characters such as Lillian, the wife of Frank change at a constant pace, whilst others such as Ari stay the course and change very little of their personality and goals. I think this book is very honest to human life and the complexity of psychology and fate that falls upon us all. Everything is described perfectly, the progression through eras of time and the thought processes of all the individuals involved. This was the first book I read that was written by Richard Sharp and I have to say that I truly enjoyed it, its got everything in it; wars, spies, love, lust, betrayal just to mention a few themes. I think my favourite character by far was Lillian, as she was a person lost in her actions driven by the ghosts of her past, yet she found a way to change, to move beyond it, and then to find Frank and be able to truly settle down possibly for the first time in her life. I would recommend this to those readers interested in the 60s 70s 80s and also to people who have an interest in psychology. It was a great read.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers Favorite "The Duke Don't Dance" by Richard Sharp is a fascinating journey following the lives of a group of friends and acquaintances we first meet at Annapolis in 2011. They are attending the wake of one of their own, who has recently passed away. From there we return to High School in 1960, to begin learning about the people with whom we will be very well acquainted by the time the story concludes. This 50+ year journey ends as we accompany one of the friends back home after the burial at Arlington, the day after the wake. It is a poignant reflection on real life, which will resonate with everyone who lived - and lives - during the years of the so-called "silent generation". Mr. Sharp paints a vivid, pointillist mural of that era. "The Duke Don't Dance" is a story of real life. Every reader will associate with one or more of the characters, and will recall friends long past in the lives of the other characters. You will love, and you will hate in turn. The story is reminiscent of happier times, and times of grief. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It will make you wonder how friends from your youth are doing, and might even prompt you to look up a few of them. Perhaps it will give you strength to resolve some long-standing issues in your own life. Above all, you will feel the richer for having read it.
tiffanydavis22 More than 1 year ago
The Duke Don't Dance, by Richard Sharp, follows a group of friends from their young adulthood through their retirement. It is set somewhere around the years of 1930 to 1960-ish, and involves a lot of events during WWII. Each of the characters are very different and well developed. They believe themselves to fall under the Silent Generation, since they are too old to fall under the generation of baby boomers. They are known as the Silent Generation because any participation they had in the events goes unaccredited. This is a very well developed and written book for it's genre. The book delves into a lot of historical background of the Silent Generation and it has a very historical feel to it. In my opinion, the story was very well written and the author did a great job at really explaining the history of everything in detail. I felt that this made it easier for someone like me, who doesn't tend to read historical fiction, making it easier to understand the workings of the storyline. I would definitely give read more by the author and would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the historical fiction genre.
EDL85 More than 1 year ago
Richard Sharp’s “The Duke Don’t Dance” is a novel that covers fifty years, a few continents, and a lot of political and social milestones, as well as emotional milestones for its characters. It begins in 2011, with the funeral of U.S. Air Force Major Frank Miller, and his friends, family, and acquaintances who attend it. The attendees are a mix of people who Frank knew and who moved in and out of his life (or in and out of each other’s lives) since the 1960s. The novel then flashes back to the 1960s to pick up with the young Sam and Lillian (who later becomes Frank’s wife), detailing their relationship and lives; from there it introduces the reader to several other characters, including Francesca, Ari, Ted, Beth, and others, taking the reader back up to 2011 and Frank’s funeral. As the lives of this “Silent Generation” truck on through the decades, the book also deals with the JFK assassination, civil rights, women’s rights, Vietnam, and other major events. While the span of the book is epic, its treatment of its characters and their lives is perfectly minute; the author manages them all adroitly and creates complex, interesting people. As I was moved from one time period to next, I found myself wondering how they were all going to pop up into each other’s lives, and ultimately how their relationships with Frank would play out. Ironically, at the end of the novel I felt I knew Frank least of all; other than a slightly discontent man, one who searched for fulfillment but couldn’t quite find it and then gives up, I felt better acquainted with the other characters. I enjoyed seeing how they all grew and progressed (or didn’t), and the characters really were the highlight of the book for me. I would recommend this novel to readers interested in a generation that doesn’t get much treatment (I didn’t even know what the “Silent Generation” was before this book), character-driven narratives, and historical fiction.
Santosh More than 1 year ago
Book Name: The Duke Don't Dance By Richard Sharp Penned with the ink of truth and pain is the book "The Duke Don't Dance" by Richard Sharp. Highly Inspired from the works of great talents of our time, this book shows us the world of long lost souls of Silent Generation. This book falls into Historical fiction category and can be enjoyed by anyone who likes to learn more about lives and likes of our past & how we come to be. Book follows seven friends and their life’s journey through the most socially reforming time period. Story offers insight into the complex plot line that evolves over number of years. Story unfolded to show characters grow in experience, relations and around major world events. Oh yeah, you heard me right... there are spies and threat of bio-war. People fighting for their civil rights... Society on the verge of sexual revolution... and beautiful characters all playing their imperfect role, all trying to do the right things. Survival. Book did found a corner in my heart and I am glad that I read this story. With little over 250 pages it's a standard length novel still it manages to create its own world. I once read a YA sci-fi novel Time Riders, which was about time travel and major world events; but I dare say, Sharp's novel kept me hooked to the story without all the ado of sci-fi things. The language used to portray characterization and events is easy read. But for me, story being true to itself is more relevant than it being blunt-out for readers liking... And that's exactly what sharp does with his writings. Here's Richards quote from one of his interviews, (In Author's words,) "To me, it is important that the protagonists not give a damn about what the reader thinks of them. The characters in a novel should never be pleading to the reader to love them or think they're cool. But my protagonists don't care and neither do I. In the end, I think that makes for a better story." and it sure did for 'The Duke Don't Dance'. I am not sure how others will find this read as it shows dark corners of human nature at times but that's what makes it so real... I am rating it with 4 out of 5 stars. Thanks and enjoy.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
The Silent Generation. These are the men and women between The Greatest Generation who won World War II and The Boomers who resulted when that generation came home and made families. The Silent Generation didn't have a war that everyone supported; they had Vietnam. They didn't have a President from their ranks. Instead the political crown skipped from men like Eisenhower and Nixon to John Kennedy. But what did they have and what did they contribute? The start of the computer industry that changed the world. The rise of rock and roll; Janis and Jimi to Motown. Flower Power. The desegration acts that gave African Americans their dignity and rights. The rise of feminism and reliable birth control. The Cold War and the post-Bomb era. An era when going to college became imaginable instead of just reserved for the wealthy and powerful. In The Duke Don't Dance, Richard Sharp tells the story of the Silent Generation. He follows a group of friends from 1960 to the present. The reader follows their lives and is privy to their loves, their politics, their work and careers. In doing so, the contributions and issues of this generation come alive. Richard Sharp is a member of this generation. Born in 1941, he traveled with his career all over the world and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
lizasarusrex More than 1 year ago
What is the book about? A group of friends reunite and rehash old memories. You'll be taken back through time to understand how these friends came to be the people they are today due to growing up just after the Great Depression and during the beginning of World War II which is known as the Silent Generation. The silent generation is responsible for the music you listen to, the equality in different races, and the beginning of the sexual revolution. These were brilliant times and this book shows the changes in society and in their personal friendship. What did I think of the book? I could really relate to this book with similar experiences that I have had with my own parents and grandparents. The characters were relatable as well as I know friends in my life with similar characteristics and personality. I would compare this book to one of my favorite movies "The Big Chill" where a group of old friends are brought together by a tragic accident. Even though their lives have all changed and they have grown up they are still great friends that work well together.
tiffanydavis2 More than 1 year ago
The Duke Don't Dance, by Richard Sharp, follows a group of friends from their young adulthood through their retirement. It is set somewhere around the years of 1930 to 1960-ish, and involves a lot of events during WWII. Each of the characters are very different and well developed. They believe themselves to fall under the Silent Generation, since they are too old to fall under the generation of baby boomers. They are known as the Silent Generation because any participation they had in the events goes unaccredited. First off I want to say, do not let my rating discourage you from reading this book. It is a very well developed and written book for it's genre. The reason I gave it 3*'s is because it is not my type of storyline to read. The book delves into a lot of historical background of the Silent Generation and has a very historical feel to it. This made it hard for me to enjoy simply because I am not into the historical workings of a story. In my opinion, the story was very well written and the author did a great job. It's just not the book or genre for me. I would definitely give this author another chance, since the book itself was well written. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
MarthaM More than 1 year ago
The Duke Don’t Dance I thoroughly enjoyed The Duke Don’t Dance. There is a tremendous amount of thought, philosophy, and understanding of Silent Generation reflected in this extremely well written book. The book follows the lives of a group of friends from their young adulthood into their retirement years. The friends are from very different backgrounds and have very different political and social views, yet their friendships endure through the last part of the sixties and seventies, their myriad jobs, some that bring fortune, some that are based in illegal, immoral and profiteering businesses. The relationships that they share are complex, realistic, humorous and very real. The families and children that they build and destroy bring to light the disparate relationships that The Silent Generation had with their outspoken and idealistic offspring. I couldn’t help but compare this book with the movie The Big Chill, a particular favorite of mine, especially in the attitudes of the group toward sex, casual drug use, and music. As much as I loved the Big Chill, though, it did not have the depth and scope that The Duke Don’t Dance has. This generation is neither mine nor my parents, yet it is a generation that brought incredible change to American society and I absolutely enjoyed immersing myself in it.
TJDTD More than 1 year ago
The Duke Don't Dance by Richard G Sharp is an exploration into a group of friends who come in and out of each others' lives throughout the turbulent mid-twentieth century. This particular group of friends sees themselves as part of the Silent Generation, not able to take credit for the victories in World War II, but too old to be a part of the ever-changing baby boomer generation. Throughout the novel, not only are the relationships between this group of friends is explored, but it is also well anchored into the popular and political upheavals of the times. The group must deal with their feelings and attitudes toward political leaders, the changing business environment and the sexual revolution, making their lives, as well as the lives of their children, somewhat dysfunctional in trying to decide what's best for all of them. This book was enjoyable to read because it covers a time period that's still not quite seen as old enough to be in the history books, but still compelling to read about. Sharp's writing style is unique and provides an honest look at the characters within the book. The only drawback to the book is that there are so many characters to keep track of, especially once the main group of friends starts adding spouses, lovers and children to the mix. If you pay attention to all the names, though, it's not an issue. Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in exploring real characters through the turbulence of a time not so long ago.
LFrankel999 More than 1 year ago
I found this author’s conceptualization of “the Silent Generation” to be rather muddled. If these are Americans born in the timeframe of 1925-1942, there were those among them who became young adults in the 1950’s, and another set of people within this group who became young adults in the 1960’s like the protagonists in this novel. The ethos of the 1950’s is diametrically opposed to the ethos of the 1960’s. It seems to me that the older members of this group are true representatives of “the Silent Generation”. If you have ever encountered an individual who is stuck in the 1950’s, then you know who they are. My opinion is that the characters in The Duke Don’t Dance are in the first wave of the Boomers. These characters are too dynamic to be considered “Silent Generation”. Frank and Francesca began by appearing to be the best examples of the 1950’s mindset, but they both ended up surprising me more than any of the others. Characters that are successfully drawn should be individuals with contradictory facets and complex motivations rather than exemplars of a generational pattern. Richard G. Sharp should be congratulated for the diversity of the personalities in his novel. Defining characters too rigidly stifles their growth. Fortunately, Sharp’s characters escaped their limitations. I guess that I don’t understand the author’s purpose in constructing this straw concept of a “Silent Generation” in order to demolish it so completely. There was a great deal of didacticism in The Duke Don’t Dance that I considered inappropriate. I think that readers of fiction should be given the freedom to interpret the meaning of a novel’s context for themselves. It bothers me when an author interferes in this process by endlessly editorializing, as Sharp did, about the Boomers. As a Boomer myself, I found this very irritating. Although stereotypes may seem valid, they are really overly broad generalizations. There is as much variation among Boomers as there was among Sharp’s alleged “Silent Generation” characters. If the confining generational framework and associated sermonizing were stripped away, the unencumbered narrative would emerge and take its place as the true focal point of this book. I sincerely believe that the result would be a much better novel.
ReadersFavorite4 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers Favorite We enter the story in a funeral home, adorned with enough flowers to be considered overkill (if you will pardon the pun). Frank was a well-liked man who hated bereavement yet here he was, the center of attention in a filled building. The guests spanned generations in age, most there in response to being invited by his widow, Lillian. The story unfolds as an unmentionable act astonishes the funeral director and his assistant; the guests, having already exited the building, have no idea; well, all but one. The interactions between one another stir up repressed memories, old spites and more. Each recalls relationships, experiences, and periods in their lives that happened so long ago. The common factor is Frank, albeit sometimes if only by affiliation. It takes but a few pages to become completely engrossed in these personal, funny, tragic tales and before you know it, it is the end. It is not easy to define such distinct characters, their stories, the way their lives intertwine with those of others. With ease and perhaps a touch of pure brilliance, author Richard Sharp guides the reader through each scene. I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Duke Don't Dance". I found myself laughing out loud at the idiosyncrasies of each character and even identified with a couple of the people with a few in my own life. I think we all know at least a couple in this cast and that is what makes it so enjoyable. The author makes his book real!
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Seventy-ish Frank Miller has been killed in an automobile accident and now he is laid out for burial in his dress uniform of a major in the U.S. Air Force. His friends and co-workers for over the many years, Ted, Sam, Beth, Rafi and Frank's wife Lillian gather to mourn his passing. But as Author Richard Sharp writes, "it was more an alumni party with a corpse in attendance than a memorial service". And Author Sharp lays out the complex relations among these friends over the years between their teenage years of the late 1950's to the present times of this decade when they all faced old age and frailty. Frank, Lillian, Sam, Ted, Beth, Tom Inga, and Rebecca were members of the post-war generation who were "lost between the Greatest Generation and the boomers" who were young in those years of the 1960's when the sexual revolution, equal rights, the feminist movement all came about. Now "The Duke don't dance" but does one just accept that hard fact? "The Duke Don't Dance" is a complex novel about the intertwined lives of longtime friends and co-workers. The story covers chapter by chapter the changing years from the late 1950's and Elvis through Vietnam and Jim Morrison's songs and onto present times where Frank tells his musician son Rick that current songs are just sad. The characters, Frank, Ted, Sam, Beth, Tom, Ari, Lillian and all their friends, lovers, and acquaintances are well-drawn and totally believable. The plot is brilliantly constructed to proceed through decades from the past to the present as though we watch all the characters in "The Duke Don't Dance" live out their lives. "The Duke Don't Dance" is a story that should be read slowly and absorbed. It is not for a light reading. it is most definitely a good read.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jean Brickell for Readers Favorite They are beginning to age now, this group of friends, lovers. They are a part of the "Quiet Generation". They fit in after the "Greatest Generation" of WWII and before the "Baby Boomers". The book begins with the funeral of Frank, as they gather to pay tribute to one of their own. He swerved his car to miss Sledders in the road and drowns. Rough and tumble, he was a pilot in Vietnam in younger years. Wives, children, and friends gather. Sam was in intelligence (CIA) in Thailand during that war, and continued the espionage during the cold war. The group was part of the sexual revolution, feminism, and the intermingling of religion and race. Their lives were connected with Watergate, Gulf War, Trade Center collapse and rock and roll. This is a tribute to the "Quiet Generation", now approaching seventy or already there. They fought and lost Vietnam. They were part of the sexual revolution and saw the passage of the Civil Rights Bill. They married and or had affairs, raised children, made and lost lots of money, were there for each other. When one needed a job, another would find that person one. They were involved with espionage, war, earning a living, raising children, having affairs, drinking and drugs. The question is raised, who was the "Duke" as in the title of the book, and who wrote "The Duke don't dance" on the wall of the men's room while everyone was at lunch?
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Sharp’s book is fictional but reminded me of my parents and most of their friends for they were part of the Silent Generation. In "The Duke Don’t Dance" we meet a group of seven friends and follow them from young adults through adulthood. We watch as they face the Cold War, the early drug culture, peace rallies and much more. I find it rather amazing that it was the Silent Generation that came up with rock. Perhaps they were not always silent. This is the first time I’ve heard that phrase. I was interested in learning more. The Silent Generation was born between 1925 and 1945, during the Great Depression and World War II. The Silent Generation would encompass most of the soldiers that fought in the Korean War. As I did a little research I was amazed at the famous names that comprised the Silent Generation: Dick Cheney, The Beatles, George Carlin, Clinton Eastwood and Elvis Pressley among others. One of the best parts of this book is the use of actual events and allowing the characters to react to them. Sharp combines humor, romance and intrigue in his book. I like this book; I was quickly connected to the characters. Like real life at times they were likable and other times they were not. Sharp successfully developed each character breathing life into them. I found it amazing that this is Sharp’s first novel. He writes like a seasoned author. Well done Mr. Sharp, you gave a voice to the Silent Generation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SheriKHoff More than 1 year ago
Sharp’s novel, The Duke Don’t Dance, pulled me into the story by page 2 and I immediately wanted to know more. As a daughter of parents from the “Silent Generation”, I could relate to the book through their eyes and I recognized experiences similar to my parents. Sharp writes with direct honesty when painting the portrait of his characters. There is no attempt to romance the reader to want to like the characters. The characters simply are the way they are with flaws. Yet, I found myself deeply interested in them and growing to like them as I continued through the chapters. Relationships are complex, imperfect, and uncomfortable. Conversations interweave the Vietnam War, “real music” (Elvis and Buddy Holly), and twitter seamlessly, yet demonstrating the vast experiences and contrasts for the Silent Generation. Chapters seem to ping pong between time periods, yet it somehow makes sense. I felt familiarity for the characters like I had met them from somewhere in my life. Then I experienced a jolting realization as moments in history were revealed against the backdrop of every day life. I felt like I gained understanding about how the average American really felt living the history of the past 70 years. Sharp brilliantly contrasts characters from diverse educational backgrounds; different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds; the military, unhappy homes; and liberal and conservative backgrounds. The novel is gritty and witty. As I read, I appreciated Sharp’s descriptive style which transports you to the moment and each paragraph is packed with information and insights. This is very entertaining, enlightening, and a great read for people of any generation. Sheri Kaye Hoff