(From the publisher):
The novel (or fictionalized biography) is about Gabriel's Revolt, a slave insurection that took place in Virginia, 1800. First published in 1936, Black Thunder was widely and favorably reviewed. As the suthor says in the introduction to this edition, "...the theme of self-assertion by black men whose endurance is strained to the breaking point was not one that the readers of fiction were prepared to contemplate at the time."
The young Richard Wright, reviewing the book for Partisan Review, wrote "Black Thunder is the story of a slave insurrection that failed. But in the telling of the story of that failure Bontemps manages to reveal and dramatize through the character of his protagonist, Gabriel, a quality of folk courage unparalleled in the proletarian literature of this country. Gabriel is a young slave who decides to avenge the murder of a fellow-slave by leading the Negroes of Richmond, Virginia, against the landowners. Gabriel believes in the eventual triumph of his destiny in spite of all the forces that conspire against it. When considering Gabriel solely as an individual, he seems sustained by an extremely foolish belief in himself, but when one remembers his slave state, when one remembers the extent to which he has made the wrongs [sufferd by] his people his wrongs, and the degree to which he has submerged his hopes in their hopes - when one remembers this he appears logically and gloriously invincible."
Original title: Black Thunder
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ North America→ North America To 1800
Fiction→ General Fiction→ Black (african-american)
Fiction→ Historical→ Fictional Biography