Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line

Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line - Martha A. Sandweiss From the book description, “Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history; a brilliant scientist and witty conversationalist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay named King “the best and brightest of his generation.” But King hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family in Newport: for thirteen years he lived a double life—as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common- law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed.”

I had never heard of Clarence King. I came across his story and it sounded so intriguing that I felt I had to read this book. I am very glad I did. The story of his accomplishments was interesting enough, but the entire story of his double life was truly fascinating. The author obviously researched this book very well and the history she gives us with regards Ada Copeland was eye-opening.