A Moment in the Sun
This epic work tells the stories of several men and women caught up in the violent end of 19th-century America. These include Hod Brackenridge, searching for his fortune in the Yukon; Royal Scott, a black man looking for equality in the service of his country; and Diosdado Concepción, fighting for the freedom of his Phillippines. They meet on the battlefields of the Spanish-American War as our nation took its first steps towards becoming a world power, while others back in the States endure the backlash against the freed slaves, ending their “moment in the sun.”
Immense in scope, the novel is steeped in detail, such as the white coup in Wilmington, North Carolina, which swept many blacks from their jobs and their homes, to the depradations of battles in the malaria-infested ovens of Cuba and the Philippines. It focuses on the inequality inherent in those times, and especially in its depiction of the occupation of the Phillippines, it provides a lesson for our time. As a work of fiction, the book is unrelenting in its grim outlook, unremittingly negative in its choice of subjects, and unapologetic in its depictions of man’s cruelty to man. Excellent history yes, terrific storytelling surely, but entertaining? Possibly not.