Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson
(A Novel)

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Synopsis

Raised in the steamy bayous of New Orleans in the early 1900s, LeRoi "King" Tremain, caught up in his family's ongoing feud with the rival DuMont family, learns to fight. But when the teenage King mistakenly kills two white deputies during a botched raid on the DuMonts, the Tremains' fear of reprisal forces King to flee Louisiana.

King thus embarks on an adventure that first takes him to France, where he fights in World War I as a member of the segregated 369th Battalion—in the bigoted army he finds himself locked in combat with American soldiers as well as with Germans. When he returns to America, he battles the Mob in Jazz Age Harlem, the KKK in Louisiana, and crooked politicians trying to destroy a black township in Oklahoma.

King Tremain is driven by two principal forces: He wants to be treated with respect, and he wants to create a family dynasty much like the one he left behind in Louisiana. This is a stunning debut by novelist Guy Johnson that provides a true depiction of the lives of African-Americans in the early decades of the twentieth century.
 

About Guy Johnson

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Guy Johnson is the author of the novel Standing at the Scratch Line and a book of poetry, In the Wild Shadows. After graduating from high school in Egypt, he com-pleted college in Ghana. Johnson managed a bar on Spain's Costa del Sol, ran a photo safari service from London through Morocco and Algeria, and worked on oil rigs in Kuwait. Most recently he worked in the local government of Oakland, California, for more than ten years. He lives in Oakland with his wife and son. He is the son of Dr. Maya Angelou. To learn more about Guy Johnson and his work, visit his website at www.guyjohnsonbooks.com.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published June 12, 2001 by Villard. 576 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Standing at the Scratch Line

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King is portrayed as a violent, magnanimous World Spirit of limitless generosity, righteous justice, rock-solid honor, and ruthless pragmatism--an African-American Chuck Norris.

Dec 01 1998 | Read Full Review of Standing at the Scratch Line ...

Publishers Weekly

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In the 30 years this lengthy debut novel spans (1916-1946), much blood is spilt and few lessons learned. The macho misadventures of its larger-than-life protagonist LeRoi Boudreaux Tremain---aka King-

Nov 30 1998 | Read Full Review of Standing at the Scratch Line ...

Publishers Weekly

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the other, Leroy, is King's child by a New York woman, whose whereabouts Serena discovers but conceals from King.

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Entertainment Weekly

B Originally posted Dec 18, 1998 Published in issue #463 Dec 18, 1998 Order article reprints

Dec 18 1998 | Read Full Review of Standing at the Scratch Line ...

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