The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

by Karl Jacoby


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Winner of the Ray Allen Billington Prize and the Phillis Wheatley Book Award

"An American 'Odyssey,' the larger-than-life story of a man who travels far in the wake of war and gets by on his adaptability and gift for gab." —Wall Street Journal

A black child born on the US-Mexico border in the twilight of slavery, William Ellis inhabited a world divided along ambiguous racial lines. Adopting the name Guillermo Eliseo, he passed as Mexican, transcending racial lines to become fabulously wealthy as a Wall Street banker, diplomat, and owner of scores of mines and haciendas south of the border. In The Strange Career of William Ellis, prize-winning historian Karl Jacoby weaves an astonishing tale of cunning and scandal, offering fresh insights on the history of the Reconstruction era, the US-Mexico border, and the abiding riddle of race in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393239256
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/14/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,325,184
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Karl Jacoby is a professor of history at Columbia University. The author of two previous books, he has won the Albert J. Beveridge Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many other honors. He lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Through History's Cracks xv

Part I Victoria

1 Gone to Texas 3

2 Juneteenth 34

Part II San Antonio/Tlahualilo

3 Military Plaza 67

4 The Land of God and Liberty 91

Part III Manhattan/Mexico City

5 A Picturesque Figure 125

6 The City of Happy Homes 162

Epilogue: Trickster Makes This World 194

Afterword 203

Acknowledgments 205

Notes 211

Bibliography 257

Illustration Credits 289

Index 291

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The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author neglects to mentiion, or maybe never reseached it, Mexico captured Native Americans from the US as slaves, never emancipated or returned them even when the US demanded. The author also fails to mention that the issue of slavery divided America. Most were against it not for it, and it was pushed and demanded by Democrats, whuch it appears this author is one by his style of writing history. I give four stars to the story of Mr. Elllis, not the author's telling of it. Let us not forget that to this day Mexico has a dark and thriving slave trade only now the slaves are almost exclusively sold for sex.