Hard Revolution Paperback – 4 Mar 2010
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Hard Revolution is the novel George P Pelecanos was always going to write sooner or later, the book in which his fascination with the casual choices that shape human life was going to interact fully with his interest in racial politics.
Young Black cop Derek Strange has plenty of problems in the Washington of 1968--his elder brother Dennis keeps dangerous company and smokes too much dope, yet judges Derek harshly for his membership of a mostly white force radicals see as an army of occupation. Other men are making worse choices--Dominic, whom both Stranges knew when young, comes back from Vietnam with a habit of obedience and drifts into violent crime. And just around the corner is the death of Martin Luther King and the riots that follow it--riots that change the lives of Washington's whites and blacks forever.
Pelecanos has always been an intelligent writer whose thrillers are not just about crime, but have a pronounced sense of how it fits into the way individuals negotiate all of their interactions with a broader community. His books simply get better--and his sense of the musical soundtrack to people's lives gets ever more acute as well. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'[Hard Revolution] is Dickensian in structure... Pelecanos's writing is direct and effective, with much period detail about cars and music, and he has a wonderful way with vernacular. The scenes of mob violence are minutely documented and the waste is appalling but, just as in Dickens, love finally conquers all.' (Toby Clements DAILY TELEGRAPH)
'An Ellroy-esque powderkeg waiting for a spark to set it off, Hard Revolution slowboils its dense storyline , interweaving mulitiple characters heading for a violent showdown, until you either care deeply for or loathe them, ensuring that its denouement leaves you shattered. A fascinating historical saga and crime potboiler combined, Pelecanos' 12th novel is a brutal tour de force.' (JACK magazine)
'In Hard Revolution George Pelecanos breaks new ground with a long, expansive novel which sets the strories of Derek Strange and his family against the momentous events surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King in the summer of 1968.' (WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY)
'It's [Pelecanos'] ability, better than any writer up to and including Nick Hornby, to bring his characters to life through their obsessions, desires and needs, that makes Pelecanos's writing jump off the page. He writes about real people in real situations, and the hard choices they must make every day. And, as in Hard Revolution, when he does it well, it's a tender and beautiful thing.' (WORD Magazine)
'Pelecanos writes clean, tight, cogent prose with a heartfelt urgency.' (THE SCOTSMAN)
'Has George Pelecanos's hour finally arrived? For years, aficionados of tough, richly characterised thrillers have put Pelecanos securely in the No 1 slot. It's not difficult to see why: many writers excel at the well-turned acerbic thriller but few are able to combine tough dialogue and bloodletting with an ambitious picture of a society - and that's what Pelecanos achieves, time and time again.' (Barry Forshaw SUNDAY EXPRESS)
'This is a wonderful powerful novel that deserves to win an oscar.' (TIME OUT)
'Hard Revolution is a wonderfully atmospheric, highly intelligent novel; and no one today - not even Elmore Leonard - writes better dialogue.' (Marcel Berlins THE TIMES)
'...a sophisticated, unflinching novel. 4 stars *' (Nick Hasted UNCUT magazine)
'An epic novel about one man's journey into the fires of revolution, this is a book that also reeks of soul music and ethnic diversity as Pelecanos lovingly creates the lost world in which he grew up. Beneath the paving stones and the mayhem and crime lies a strange poetry that is unique to Pelecanos. Impressive.' (Maxim Jabubowski THE GUARDIAN)
'Hard Revolution is a superior thriller, raising issues that are still relevant in American society. It is also a fast-paced read that holds the interest right to the final page.' (IRISH TIMES) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This story is told through those who would be most affected by, but least able to influence the momentous events of 1968. The major themes here are, unsurprisingly, racism and drugs, and their effects on the Strange family and a range of others from different backgrounds. What sets Pelecanos apart is a rare ability to write convincingly about different ethnic communities while avoiding stereotyping either the characters or their behaviour, and without slipping into sentimentality. As always, you will come to care deeply about the characters and, as always, period detail is superb, from the cars and clothes to the movies and TV programmes, but as usual with GP it is the music which is memorable - you can almost hear the Soul soundtrack of the book.
There must have been many novels written about America in the 60's, but few can have captured so accurately the feel of the times. This is not strictly an action thriller, although there is enough here to keep fans of the genre happy. Rather, it is a superb commentary on life in America in the late 60's, with much to say on the nature of Family and loyalty, justice and prejudice. Pelecanos has never been better and I cannot recommend this book highly enough
The way the seeds of the 1968 harvest are sown in the spring of 1959 is masterly. If you feel a little impatient for the hard action to begin, as I did, stay with it. The speed steadily picks up, and the background of the characters is vital to the final outcome, and is in any case beautifully plotted and described.
This novel goes far beyond conventional crime writing, as does much of the finest work in this field that comes out of the United States.I wish I could find British authors who were half as good at transcending the genre and who didn't just stick to serial killer, morose police detective, or "who did it" mode....
"Hard Revolution" is a detailed illumination through events and character of the racial elements of those fierce times in Washington DC, but never loses the drive through to discover what happens at the end of the story.
I have read and enjoyed several other books by George Pelecanos; this, which deals with the youth and motivation of Derek Strange, the protagonist of earlier novels, is, for me, the best, and if you want to follow the series about Strange, would be the one to start with.
"Hard Revolution", like the rest of Pelecanos' novels, is firmly rooted in the underside of Washington DC; more specifically in the Greek and African-American communities. The time is Spring 1968; the city a powder-keg about to explode into riot after the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Against this background Pelecanos weaves the stories of the Strange family, rookie policeman Derek and his Vietnam-vet brother Dennis, their father Darius, and their mother Alethea; and of veteran homicide cop Frank Vaughn. Strange and Vaughn are both trying to keep the peace in their own ways; to Vaughn, it's just a job, and an opportunity to make a few bucks on the side through - well, not exactly corruption, but irregular practices; to Strange, as a young black policeman in a city on the edge of chaos, it's a matter of identity, pride, and honour.
A splendidly detailed and richly characterised novel, with an excellent sense of time and place - a pacy noir-ish thriller which acts as an excellent introduction to the author's work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I came to this, the first George Pelecanos novel I had read, on the back of the author’s contribution to the “The Wire”, a major triumph in itself. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bluecashmere.
GP is a fine novelist his dialogue is of the Elmore Leonard school of "hard boliled" and the pages whistle byPublished 14 months ago by james n v cardew
I like Pelecanos, but this must be his very best book. It is not a mystery - one knows what is going to happen. Read morePublished on 24 Jun. 2014 by firstname.lastname@example.org
If watched and loved the serie The Wire you'll love this book. I's a crime story with a social portrait of Washington D.C. in the '60esPublished on 7 April 2014 by Daniel
great read, well written could not put it down.an amazing piece of work set in a fasinating period of timePublished on 26 Jun. 2013 by mat bergel
Great book by a greater author. Clever and witty. Funny and emotional. George pelecanos truly is one of the greatest American fiction writersPublished on 21 Feb. 2013 by Kevin Brown