A great piece of nonfiction from John Alfred Williams, an overlooked African American writer who has published 10+ novels since the 60s. This is a travelogue of his journey across America for Holiday
magazine. The result is fascinating and raw, without being overemotional. There is certainly anger about the treatment of the working classes, but also a close look at African Americans who have tried to disappear into middle class lives. Williams used some of this material to inform one of his later novels (I believe The Man Who Cried I Am
where, in part of the novel, a film crew goes across country and runs into trouble in the south*.
All in all, this is a great read for anyone interested in the national mood of mid-60s America from an African American perspective. In some ways, it reminded me of John Steinbeck's Travel's With Charley
, but I think this is better.
* This may actually be in !Click Song
one of his other, very good novels -- but they are both about writers and I confuse them alot.