Vladimir Alexandrov – The Black Russian


Black russian pbk

Called “[An] extraordinary story . . . [interpreted] with great sensitivity,” by The New York Review of Books, and praised by Booklist as one of their Top Ten Biographies of 2013, The San Francisco Chronicle (also a Top Ten book of 2013), The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Daily Beast and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West, among others, THE BLACK RUSSIAN is the incredible true story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, a son of former slaves who pursued a dream of freedom, wealth, and happiness that took him across Europe in the early twentieth century.
After his father, a former slave who had become a prosperous farmer in Mississippi, was brutally murdered in 1890, Frederick left the South and worked as a waiter in Chicago and Brooklyn. Seeking greater freedom, he traveled to London, then crisscrossed Europe and – in a highly unusual choice for a black American at the time – went to Russia. Finding no color line there, Frederick settled in Moscow, becoming a rich and famous owner of variety theaters and restaurants. When the Bolshevik Revolution arrived in 1917, he fled to Constantinople, where he made another fortune by opening nightclubs as the “Sultan of Jazz.”
THE BLACK RUSSIAN is published by Grove Press/Atlantic Monthly Press and retails for $17.00 (336 pages); paperback; March 11, 2014; ISBN: 978-0-8021-2229-2)
THE BLACK RUSSIAN will be available for sale at the event and at the restaurant afterwards.

About the Author



Vladimir Alexandrov (http://www.valexandrov.com) grew up in New York City in a Russian émigré family and wanted to be a scientist from an early age. However, after getting Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Geology from Queens College and The City College of New York, he decided that he’d learned enough about the natural world but didn’t understand himself or other people. His solution was to switch to studying literature and the humanities, which resulted in getting a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton. After teaching in the Slavic Department at Harvard, he moved to Yale University in 1986, where, as B. E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, he continues to teach courses on Russian literature and culture. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut, with his wife, who teaches Spanish at Yale, and has a son and daughter who are both studying for advanced degrees.

Please click here for more info about Alexander’s work

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  1. Pingback: Cocktail Party honoring “The Black Russian” | The M57 Blog

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