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: 9780393354171
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 318,078
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(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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