I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Book of Harlan
Published by Akashic Books on May 3, 2016
Pages: 400 pages
In 2004 I read Firpo W. Carr's book Germany's Black Holocaust: 1890- 1945, and was immediately intrigued. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, "The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder."
I realized that while much had been written about the Jewish victims, the fate of Africans and African Americans at the hands of the Nazis was less well documented.
I was fascinated by this discovery and set about writing a story that would illuminate this hidden verity. But for many years, the story seemed out of my reach as I struggled to find a connection with the characters.
Luckily for me, early attempts at creating the story coincided with my ongoing personal genealogy research. For some twenty years I've been consumed with investigating my paternal line; specifically my grandfather, Harold McFadden, who was entirely absent from my father's life, thus a mystery to both of us.
When I decided to model Harlan Elliott after my grandfather, all that I had been struggling with came to an end. It was as if I had found the golden key; suddenly the foreign became familiar and the novel unfurled as naturally as a flower in spring.
--Bernice L. McFadden