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.
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.