BookBrowse Reviews Passing Strange by Martha A. Sandweiss

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Passing Strange

A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line

by Martha A. Sandweiss

Passing Strange
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2010, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

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A uniquely American story of self-invention, love, deception, and race

In Passing Strange, Martha A. Sandweiss takes a mountain of information and transforms it into a smooth, captivating narrative. Covering a century of American history, including geographical expansion, economic trends, and social values could have proved too plodding for one read; however, Ms. Sandweiss pulls it off seamlessly. With a thorough, straightforward style, she streamlines an era of historical data into an enjoyable, intriguing account of the unlikely love story of Clarence King (aka Charles Todd) and Ada Copeland.

Clarence KingTo untangle this intricate story, Sandweiss methodically walks us through the arbitrary and ever-shifting racial rules that reigned during the Gilded Age. "The practice of passing generally involves adopting a particular identity to move toward greater legal and social privilege," Sandweiss states. "It might mean taking on a different gender, or ethnic or ...

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