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Head of Zeus
The Black Russian
01 Jun 2013 * EBOOK * £6.99 * 9781781855188

The story of Frederick Thomas, a black man born to former slaves in Mississippi who became a rich and successful nightclub owner in two European capitals.

Non Fiction / HBLW (Modern History)
Extent: 336 pages
Exclusive: GB AU NZ IN ZA SG   Not for sale: CA US
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Also in Great Lives series
The Black RussianGreat Livesby Vladimir Alexandrov

The extraordinary story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, the son of former slaves who fled America to build a life in Tsarist Russia.

'A fascinating tale' Anne Applebaum
'Thoroughly enjoyable' Spectator
'Extraordinary and gripping' Adam Hochschild

After the brutal death of his father when he was a teenager, Frederick Thomas fled the stifling racism of the American South and headed for New York City, where he worked as a valet and trained as a singer. Through charisma and cunning, Thomas emigrated to Europe, where his acquired skills as a multilingual maitre d'hôtel allowed him to travel from London to Monte Carlo before settling in Moscow in the glorious days before the 1917 Revolution. There Thomas became a rich and respected nightclub impresario, opening a lavish nightclub called Maxim.

With evocative backdrops in Moscow and later in Odessa and Constantinople, where Thomas rebuilt his life after the revolution, The Black Russian is an inspiring story of personal reinvention set in one of history's richest periods.

Vladimir Alexandrov is B.E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale. He is the author of books on Nabokov and Tolstoy, and has published numerous articles on Russian writers and topics.

Narrative non-fiction with the pull of a novel.

Brings a lost piece of history to life.

Author is a distinguished scholar of Russian culture at Yale University.

MARKET: Giles Milton; Ben Macintyre; Adam Hochschild; Anne Applebaum.

'A fascinating tale of culture clash and historical change' Anne Applebaum

'Like Thomas's midnight cabarets, it provides a thoroughly enjoyable display' Spectator

'Vladimir Alexandrov manages his narrative superbly' TLS

'Enthralling... The author is to be congratulated for shining a light on this extremely interested, sometimes inspiring and sometimes tragic life' Bookbag

'An extraordinary and gripping book' Adam Hochschild

'The ride of a lifetime' John Bailey

'An extraordinary story interpreted with great sensitivity' New York Review of Books

'Vaults breathlessly from set-piece to set-piece. Evocative, compelling, throughly enjoyable' Spectator

'A tale so colourful it reads more like a novel than biography. Endlessly fascinating' Literary Review

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