Chicago-style politics is front and center. When a sitting president has his roots in this sullied political heritage, it makes for news and leads to speculation.
Not Black and White is a fictional account of many of the events that led to the meteoric rise of a local charismatic street politician to become America's first African American president and the downfall and imprisonment of two consecutive governors of the state of Illinois, along with several of their most trusted advisors and cohorts.
This story puts the listener inside the campaign offices and smoke-filled back rooms where political deals are made. It depicts the rise and fall of a Syrian immigrant who made millions by pretending he had billions while charming his way into the highest halls of wealth and power. The perspective of a local attorney/businessman who found himself in a front-row seat to politics as usual in the City That Works is reflected throughout the story. The cast of characters may appear familiar to anyone who's ever read a headline or watched cable news and talk shows across the country.
In 1994, a freak traffic accident occurred, killing a family of six young children when their van burst into flames after being struck by a semi-trailer truck driven by a man unqualified to drive such a vehicle. The truck driver, a victim himself, had bribed an employee of the Illinois secretary of state's office in order to procure his commercial driver's license. The tragic accident and resulting exposé of corruption and scandal that followed changed forever the course of American history. Inspired by true events, Not Black and White leaves it to the listener to interpret fact from fiction.
©2015 G. A. Beller (P)2015 G. A. Beller
I wouldn't say one is better than the other, it just depends on preference of format. Either way the story is good.
It's a political thriller with references to some current political situations. I can't compare it to any other book I've personally read or listened to. I really enjoyed it and found it to be interesting, thought provoking and unique.
I have not listened to any of Adam Verner's other performances.
It's very much about political corruption which made me think AND shake my head in disgust.
I love that from the very beginning it catches your attention and you get engrossed in it right away.
I'm not really sure there is a comparison. I can appreciate that the author took the time to make it different than most political type thirllers.
Yes! I was able to easily tune in and listen with out feeling like it was a robot reading to me.
Yes, closer to the beginning when he describes the big accident that happened and the children passing. It's heartbreaking anytime any type of violence occurs. But more so when someone passes because of it.
I have to be honest, I’m still getting used to the audio versions of books. It’s odd to me because I’ve been an avid reader all my life and never looked towards that option. Not even back in the day when they first started coming out on tapes and CD’s. Yes, it’s safe to say that I just let my age slip a little! But it’s interesting because I didn’t realize all the freedom that you have if you choose audible. It was easy for me to take my kindle with me when I was running errands and listen to the book as I drove instead of having the radio on. In some ways it’s better in my opinion.
This story is very interesting and gripping from the start. It doesn’t matter where we are as far as political races, a good book on the theme is always a sure hit. Right away you’re hit with the realities of what politics can do to anybody, anywhere. I don’t remember much about the chaos that ensued during that time the author talks about. However I’m familiar with so many other chaotic points in political history and so it doesn’t surprise me that there is constant inspiration for authors.
I found it intriguing the amount of detail there was about the officials throughout the city and state. I mean you constantly hear of conspiracy theories or actual news stories that happen. But this made it so much more than that! I don’t want to say “real” because that’s not the correct terminology I’d use. I’d say that it was more believable than not. Too many times politics become corrupted and people take the shady deals in hopes of boosting themselves. With the state being at a “low” during the time they talked about, how the heck did more people not point the stuff out?
It’s a great story that is thrilling and catching. It makes me want to read and/or listen to more books like this. It’s very thought provoking and a fascinating view on what goes on behind politically closed doors. Especially when it’s a state where an official was later elected into the biggest seat of all. It really makes you think about what was true and what wasn’t. Like the title, it’s not black or white. There’s for sure a lot of grey and I appreciated that! Awesome story!
The book is a little slow to get going, but it's worth hanging in there a few chapters as the characters unfold. If you like politics, specifically political scandal and a little corruption, this book is for you. The book is loosely based on Chicago (I did mention corrupt, right??) politics and although these are fictional characters, it's fun matching the fictional characters in the book to the real players in The Windy City and D.C.
You'll be livid at the injustice one minute, then cheering on the characters as they work to fight for justice the next minute. Definitely leaves you wondering how much of all this political corruption is fact or fiction. I'm guessing the former.
I would have given this book 5 stars had it been a little faster in the beginning, however, definitely worth the read.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I found this story relevant about current politics, and this really worked in keeping my attention. A lot of reviewers have been honest saying they aren’t political junkies, and, if I’m honest, I’m not one either. But this story presents issues that we hear and see today within a fictional universe. A few of the instances did make me chuckle, an example being the talk about the birthers toward the end. And even when it’s not your cup of tea the author finds ways to keep you interested as if you eat, sleep, and breathe politics. The author clearly knows what he is talking about, and puts it all into context in a way that even those who are unfamiliar with all things political will get it.
The narrator has a nice voice; he uses tone to his advantage, and he is clear throughout the book so that you can understand him. There isn’t anything that I disliked about the narrator; on a few occasions I found his voice a bit monotonous but only on a few, mainly because when there was a moment when he really needed to stress a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter or a sudden twist he did the job. Though he really doesn’t change his voice between characters. He certainly tries, but there’s really not much of a difference, and I think he should either commit to differentiating the characters or stick with his own voice since it’s easy and nice to listen to.
Even with the good things though I still have mixed feelings about this audio book. Would I listen to it again over something I dislike? Yes, I would; the content was interesting and brought forth in a challenging way that really made you think, and contained a great amount of detail. But perhaps this is also a small fault; occasionally the book gets rather dry, I think I would chalk that one up to the detail because it went into every single little thing and often it got boring. But luckily as soon as it gets a bit dry enough that makes you want to put it down it hits you with a hook and you keep going. I wouldn’t give it just 3 stars overall, I’d really call it a solid 3.5 as it gets the job done when you want to broaden your knowledge on the inner workings of politics and presents the information in an interesting story that we can find relevance in today. I received a copy of this
book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a novel of historical political fiction, and I found myself wishing I knew more about the Chicago political scene to keep up with the plot and cast of characters. If you enjoy the working dynamics of politics, this book is for you!
I found myself frustrated at times not being able to keep the characters straight as they wove in and out of the the story, but was surprised to catch some of the subtle references made to headlines, little pokes the author seemed to be making at the reader. (or listener in this case)
The narrator did a great job of voicing the characters and conversations, and I did not find myself at all bored while listening.
I would recommend this book to anyone who follows the political scene or who enjoys a good political thriller.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Clever Political Adventure
The author's insightful approach to American Politics.
A well paced performance
amusing and thoughtful.
G.A. Beller's first novel, Not Black and White, is a tremendous success in blending political satire and social commentary into a suspenseful thriller. Actually, it would not be too much of a reach calling this one a horror novel. So many events in this story are too horrifically close to actual events in our nation's recent past that one cannot help but be embarrassed by our news headlines. Obvious references to the current administration, local politics, and unethical governance ooze through these pages in a way that captured my attention until the end.
This novel brings inevitable comparisons to Primary Colors and Wag the Dog. Its story is so rich, imaginative, and original in its approach, it begs to be picked up as a major motion picture project. Even if the potential reader is not involved in politics or has been jaded by recent events in our social political system, this book is highly recommended. While some plot twists seem a bit esoteric to Chicagoans with their morally questionable politicians and their history of corruption, Beller does not isolate his audience. What he has done instead is include them into a journey that explores how our government really works and who is ultimately in charge of its direction. There are valuable lessons to be learned from this book. If anything, the reader should leave with a sense of disgust, satisfaction, and perverse national pride as Not Black and White forces us to look at ourselves and what we have accepted as a society. Brilliant read.
This book is relevant to our current political climate. It reminds one that there are many different people, weather directly or inadvertently involved in how issues are handled and decisions are made.
While I try to stay informed, I do not tend to read political books. This was an interesting departure from anything I've read. At times, I felt the author was drawing parallels between reality and the story. It made me curious about where the story would go next. Also, the author regularly switches between characters to tell the whole story, which helped to keep my interest.
The Narrator does a good job creating a new cadence for each character. That being said, its challenging to keep track of so many different people in an audio book. However, so many characters may only highlight the point of the story. I received a copy of this story in exchange for my honest opinion.
Beller does a great job keeping the political terms to a minimum and in layman's terms so as not to lose a reader such as myself to unfamiliar insider vocabulary.
Helping with different voices to maintain the high character count that grew quickly in the beginning.
As someone who is not a political junkie by any definition of the term, this book was entertaining and flowed well. The character count grew quickly early in the beginning making it at times hard to follow but as the book progressed, each character grew into their role well. The title threw me off in the beginning as I expected it to be more centered around the race aspect of the first black president more than what it did, but was pleased with the play on words as the book came to a close. The narrator was easy and comforting to listen to. I would recommend this book to any friend or family member, especially one who is interested in the behind the scenes antics of politics. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
I love that the book discusses current issues and is not afraid to address them. With the corruption that is associated with politics, I was rather intrigued by this book. Knowing that a lot of what was spoken in this book was true, it had me researching and looking for more information. To me, that is a wonderful sign of a great book!
One of the most memorable moments for me of Not Black and White is when it struck me that politicians were willing to do whatever it takes to earn votes. I never personally wanted to believe it, but I researched the crash that occurred early in the reading. I have children of my own and found myself in tears the evening listening to those events. I could not sleep and had to do some research of my own.
I have not listened to any of Adam Verner's other performances. His voice was very appropriate for this book though. I found that his inflection was able to direct the audience toward main points.
This was a very intriguing book, but not one that I would have been able to listen to all in one sitting. It was long, but full of information. I definitely had to break it into sections so that I could digest what I just listened to, process it, and then move on.
I especially loved the memoirs readings. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in politics. I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for my honest review.
I found this to be an intriguing story of the political machine that elects our officials and the back room deals that are inevitable. Any parallels that reader draws between fiction and the rise to power of our sitting president seem to be intentional. The setting and time frame is definitely intended to make the reader draw that conclusion. It reads as a historically accurate account leading to President Obama’s election. There is even a mention of “birth certificate” issues. Because of that, it made me a bit uncomfortable, but I’m sure that is one of the author’s goals. I did enjoy the story and found it very engaging. I didn’t want to stop listening. It did get a bit confusing at times as characters were introduced so it might have been an easier read than an audio.
I received an audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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