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Seminal (pun intended) blaxploitation text from the 60's & the inevitable bastard child of
Richard Wright's Native Son (see Orrin's review). Dan Freeman (get it) is hired as the CIA's token black; he is literally "the spook who sat by the door".  However, Freeman has his own agenda and while the CIA is using him to alleviate pressure from white liberals, he's soaking up as much knowledge as he can.  When he leaves the CIA and goes back to the 'hood, he brings an extensive background in the techniques and theories of armed insurrection and he leads the revolt against whitey.

All of the familiar elements of blaxploitation abound:  whitey's stupid, the hero possesses some
hyper-magnetism which draws all women to him and earns the instant respect of all men, the
two most hated groups are white liberals--who don't recognize the racism inherent in their own
ideas and the black middle class--which has sold out.

Later turned into a very bad movie (see the Blaxploitation Film Viewers Guide).


Grade: (C+)


Book-related and General Links:
    -African American Mystery Page
    -Can You Dig It? The Original Black Eyes (Thrilling Detective)
    -Can You Dig The New Breed? The New Black Eyes (Thrilling Detective)

If you liked The Spook Who Sat by the Door, try:

Cleaver, Eldridge
    -Soul on Ice

Ellison Ralph  (1914-1994)
    -Invisible Man  (1952)   (read Orrin's review, Grade: C)

Gaines, Ernest J. (1933-)
    -A Lesson Before Dying (1993)  (read Orrin's review, Grade: A)

Goines, Donald (1937-1974)
    Crime Partners (1971)   (read Orrin's review, Grade: C+)

Haywood, Gar Anthony
    -Fear of the Dark

    -You Can Die Trying
    -Not Long for this World
    -It's Not a Pretty Sight (1996)
    -When Last Seen Alive: An Aaron Gunner Mystery (1997)  (Read Orrin's review, Grade: C)

Himes, Chester  (1909-84)
    -If He Hollers Let Him Go
(Coffin Ed Johnson & Gravedigger Jones Mysteries)
    -Cotton Comes to Harlem
    -The Real Cool Killers
    -The Heat's On
    -The Crazy Kill   (1959) (Read Orrin's review, Grade: B)

Jackson, George
        -Soledad Brother : The Prison Letters of George Jackson

Mosley, Walter  (1952-)
(Easy Rawlins Mysteries)
    -Devil in a Blue Dress
    -A Red Death
    -White Butterfly
    -Black Betty
    -A Little Yellow Dog
    -Gone Fishin'   (1997)     (Read Orrin's review, Grade: B)

Nelson, Hugh
    -The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America (1994)  (read Orrin's review)

Tidyman, Ernest
    -Shaft Among the Jews

Wright, Richard  (1908--1960)
    -Native Son (1940)  (read Orrin's review)

X, Malcolm  (1925-65) & Alex Haley
    -The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)   (read Orrin's review, Grade: A+)