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The Black Russian

The Black Russian - Vladimir Alexandrov
3.5 Stars

The Black Russian is the incredible true story of Frederick Bruce Thomas (or Fyodor Fyodovovich Tomass as he later reinvented himself) , born in 1872 to former slaves who became prosperous farmers in Mississippi. Frederick left the South and worked as a waiter in Chicago and Brooklyn. Seeking adventure and freedom , he made his way to London, then travelled Europe, and eventually ended up in Russia where he made his fortune.

This is a fascinating story and a journey of the changing political and cultural landscape of the early twentieth century in Russia and Constantinople. The research into Frederick Thomas's background is excellent and we learn so much from his journey from America through Europe to life in Russia where the Bolshevik Revolution ruined him and he barely escaped with his life and family to Constantinople in 1919. Starting from scratch, he made a second fortune by opening celebrated nightclubs that introduced jazz to Turkey.

I came across this novel while looking for a book on audible and it drew me in from the first chapter as they narration was excellent. A rag to riches story and a book that is entertaining and historically interesting.