Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Rated 4.33/5 based on 39 reviews
"Not Black and White" is a fictional account of many events that led to the meteoric rise of a local charismatic street politician to become America's first African-American President. It puts the reader inside the campaign offices and smoke-filled back rooms where political deals are made. Inspired by true events, "Not Black and White" leaves it to the reader to interpret fact from fiction. More

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About G. A. Beller

G. A. BELLER has lived in Chicago for over twenty-five years, and is a self-professed political junkie. Chicago'€™s history of political corruption and incompetence prompted him to research a specific era of rampant criminal behavior. Utilizing articles that appeared in the press and on the internet, Beller created a fictionalized accounting of characters and events during this period, depicting through his imagination how things might have played out. He leaves it to the reader to interpret fact from fiction.

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Reviews

Review by: CamJones on July 7, 2016 :
I found myself wavering around while reading “Not Black and White” by G.A. Beller. At first I was immediately grabbed into the story, and became immersed in the dramatic and enticing opening and the overall plot development. But there were times I felt the story wasn’t as focused as I’d like, with some conversations and scenes maybe weren’t necessary and perhaps could have been eliminated to tighten the narrative some (some characters/subplots felt unnecessary). But at the same time, the pacing was fast (liked the shorter chapters) and there was pretty much nonstop action and some *definitely* crazy developments there toward the end. It felt fresh and unpredictable, even for a ‘familiar’ story which, always a nice experience, especially in a genre that is fraught with copycats. Would be interested in reading more from Beller in the future, and would recommend to anyone who wants a high-octane political drama that is disturbingly spot-on.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Jean007 on July 7, 2016 :
I really enjoyed reading this book, “Not Black and White” by G.A. Beller. I thought it was excellently written, plot and pacing-wise, and it definitely kept my attention from the dramatic opening to the satisfying, somewhat bittersweet ending (enjoyed the epilogue where we see where everyone ends up). It is fast paced and easy to read quickly… finished it in the span of a few nights, but got a ton of story for my money, that’s for sure. This isn’t exactly what you would call a “PC” book, nor should it be… that’s the point. But if you are aware of the history of Chicago politics at all, or just want a better look into the seedy underbelly and corruption that leads all the way to the White House, then this is the perfect read for you. There are some harsh, ugly truths and realities here that are all too present in modern America. Was almost disappointed when I was done, but the ending gave the emotional satisfaction I look for in a great book. Well done
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: CVasquez50 on June 29, 2016 :
4.5 stars
"Not Black and White” is a hard-hitting, evocative look at ‘real-life’ politics and Chicago-style corruption at its finest. G.A. Beller has the ability to keep the reader totally engaged throughout the entire story, and that is no small feat considering the various of multi layered plotlines, diverse set of characters that come and go, and wildly fluctuating scenery and events and time periods... You want to keep reading it but at the same time you have to stop to think about it all and let it sink in as it is intense in the subject matter at certain points, and heartwarming and charming at other times. The ending is nice and although not exactly what we hope would await each of the characters, it works well for the story. I’d love to read more from Mr. Beller someday. Great characters… great writing… great storylines. Fantastic!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Claire Middleton on June 29, 2016 :
first, I have to say that I don’t normally read these types of books but I was looking for something a little out of my comfort zone and this book sounded intriguing. I was definitely impressed with the opening sample so I dove on it. Well, I am most certainly glad I took the chance on G.A. Beller’s “Not Black and White: From the Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”! This was a brilliant novel and very impressive for a debut. The title comes from the rise of a local politician (Malik Alawi… aka Obama) as he is part of the Chicago scene that is well-funded and goes to the highest levels of Washington. Crazy. The opening scene sets up the connection between a huge corruption scam and the others involved. This sets out a chain of events and nonstop action that keeps going all through to the end. All in all a very good read that I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: DarleneCupp on June 28, 2016 :
okay, I really loved this book, way more than I expected to! Tight writing, riveting, fully-fleshed characters, and a truth that rings throughout the course of the book, “Not Black and White” by G.A. Beller is a brave and complex foray into the world of Chicago and National politics, and shows the good, the bad, and the very ugly. It kept my attention from the intriguing opening to the fulfilling ending. I could totally see this being a movie. There are more character drama scenes in this book than most I’ve read, but it isn’t overdone… just keeps you on your toes! Some unexpected twists, and even though it touches on the ugly side of human nature and our country in general, it gives an important look at what really is going on out there… and the consequences. Awesome. Recommend for fans of political dramas/bios and thrillers.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: TabithaParks on June 28, 2016 :
this was a very original take on ‘fiction’ for me, and at times it seemed like I was reading a recounting of something “real” that had happened, even though that is obviously not the case. I know that all fiction novels are like that (realistic-feeling stories that are made up), but this one was exceptionally so…. It starts off with some decent backstory to set up the scene and ground the reader in the world-building, which the author G.A. Beller does a wonderfully convincing job of creating a believable scenario… even if at times it does seem a bit far-fetched, one only has to have to have some knowledge of the history of the world to know that NOTHING is off limits or ‘too far-fetched’ to happen, ESPECIALLY when it comes to politics. The author also has a great “voice” in spinning these complex and intelligent plotlines all together where it keeps us totally hooked, but doesn’t get too convoluted. The writing was so easy to get lost in and flowed smoothly. Clean narrative and authentic dialogue with the characters lent a deeper layer of credibility against the fully developed and well-researched plot. Great job.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Sophia Renee on June 28, 2016 :
I LOVE to read, but live a hugely busy life. It gets more complicated upon that rare occasion when a book is so captivating, so enthralling, that it is impossible to walk away. With only definitive hours in a day, something has to give. For me, that was sleep! And it was worth every sacrificed minute. “Not Black and White: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave” was the grand slam home run and exceeded my wildest expectations and I would bet, maybe yours, as well. It reads almost like a sweeping epic of politics in modern day America, biting and gritty, and ugly….. Characters we will recognize easily as modern day power players, as well as a look “behind the curtain’ to expose much of the ugly goings-on that most Americans are blissfully ignorant of. Politics is a corrupt game on the best of days, but Chicago has a reputation for being particularly dirty and it all comes to life here in this book that is a great mix of real life and invented scenarios that really makes you wonder which is which. Great job.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: April Dawn on June 24, 2016 :
I really enjoyed this story and could not put it down, and as I read this book I really began to care about the characters and was anxious to see how things would turn out for them. However, I thought sometimes the narrative went on too long though and would have liked to see more active plot progression through direct character dialogue instead of just reading about everything. And sometimes I didn’t feel like we needed to know “everything” about ‘everything”… beaning sometimes I felt there was too much backstory for the characters and events and felt like overall the focus was looser than I like. I prefer to have books have a more distinct arc, and while this one eventually did, it seemed to take some time to become clear wheat it was. But I did enjoy it for the writing and the characters and the fact that it felt so reflective of our current political scene. I would read more from Mr. Beller and would recommend to others.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Essieh on June 24, 2016 :
I enjoyed this ‘novel’ by G.A. Beller. I put novel in quotes because I feel its is more of a documentary than a made-up piece of literature. There’s lots of action, great character and plot development, flashes of humor, and some surprisingly emotional moments. Some characters are on occasion paper-thin, but they’re mostly likable and serve a purpose, and the heroes are easy to root for and the bad guys are easy to hate – although it’s not always easy to distinguish the two (it’s not black and white – more like a gray area). The political world Beller creates feels like a composite of familiar elements, but there is enough originality so that I don’t feel like I’ve read it before… Beller is great at breaking down the unfolding plot into manageable chunks so as not to overshadow the suspense element, and as the story unfolds and you put all those pieces together, you can see that there’s more complexity here than you’d initially expect. I liked the ‘local’ element and thought it added a deeper layer to the believable political setting. A fast paced read that I didn’t want to put down, especially towards the end. Hope there will be more like this soon!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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