The Fiddler on Pantico Run by Joe Mozingo
An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family

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Synopsis

In this gorgeously written and “vividly fascinating” (Elle) account, a prize-winning journalist digs deep into his ancestry looking for the origins of his unusual last name and discovers that he comes from one of America’s earliest mixed-race families.

“My dad’s family was a mystery,” writes journalist Joe Mozingo, having grown up with only rumors about where his father’s family was from—Italy, France, the Basque Country. But when a college professor told the blue-eyed Californian that his family name may have come from sub-Saharan Africa, Mozingo set out on an epic journey to uncover the truth. He soon discovered that all Mozingos in America, including his father’s line, appeared to have descended from a black man named Edward Mozingo who was brought to America as a slave in 1644 and, after winning his freedom twenty-eight years later, became a tenant tobacco farmer, married a white woman, and fathered one of the country’s earliest mixed-race family lineages.

Tugging at the buried thread of his origins, Joe Mozingo has unearthed a saga that encompasses the full sweep of America’s history and lays bare the country’s tortured and paradoxical experience with race. Haunting and beautiful, Mozingo’s memoir paints a world where the lines based on color are both illusory and life altering. He traces his family line from the ravages of the slave trade to the mixed-race society of colonial Virginia and through the brutal imposition of racial laws.
 

About Joe Mozingo

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Joe Mozingo is a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his coverage of the earthquake in Haiti and helped lead a Miami Herald reporting team whose investigation into the crash of the space shuttle Columbia was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The Fiddler on Pantico Run was named a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, administered by Columbia University and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.
 
Published October 2, 2012 by Free Press. 322 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Fiddler on Pantico Run

Kirkus Reviews

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Mozingo is a white reporter for the Los Angeles Times whose family name often puzzled him.

Sep 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fiddler on Pantico Run: A...

Publishers Weekly

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Times reporter Mozingo's thorough scouring of his genealogy from Africa to Jamestown, Va., is a quirky, often exhausting, and finally satisfying account.Having wondered all his life about his mysterious surname—his family believed it was either Italian or Basque—Mozingo finally acted on intel...

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fiddler on Pantico Run: A...

Star Tribune

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A white reporter for the Los Angeles Times traces his lineage back to the African Congo.

Dec 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fiddler on Pantico Run: A...

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