4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever wondered what society would be like if the Confederacy had won the Civil War? If so, read on. All Black Americans are housed in Crops. Crops are like human incubators consisting of 5,000 single apartments in each complex. Admins track every movement made to ensure that there are no communications between the slaves. One sack of food consisting of what the Admins think they need is provided once a week. In 1975, the Slavery Licensing Act (SLA) was created to make all slaves property of the federal government. The SLA offers education to the slaves and has a breeding program because all slaves have an obligation to their white superiors to procreate. Slaves who cause conflict or turn 65 years of age are transferred and never seen again. Harrison lived this life until two Monitors took him out of the Crops to tunnels where he met Apex. Apex, and others, had escaped years ago and were hiding and planning a revolution. Does Harrison join the revolution? Will the revolution be successful? Will slavery end? Or do they all die? You will have to read the book, Dark Trades by Ken Harris, to find out.
The most positive aspect of this book is the character development. I could visualize the slaves walking with their heads down with no self-confidence and feeling inferior to whites. I could feel the oppression of having my thoughts and creativity controlled by others. “Any action is better than no action” and “while being prepared you must also be flexible” are a couple of the lessons that stood out for me. These are true for anyone, no matter what you are doing or your status. I became emotional while reading this book. I found myself crying, laughing, and getting angry at the atrocities that were committed. Ken Harris did a fantastic job of rewriting history while keeping the integrity of the truth.
The beginning of the book is the only negative. This portion of the book revolves around the history of the Crops, the slaves, and the revised version of the Civil War. Although the background information was pertinent to the story, it was monotonous to read.
I can safely say that a professional editor edited this book as it only has a handful of errors. The author did not always capitalize words as they usually would be (e.g., president, vice-president, secretary of state, to name a few), but he was consistent, so I considered them stylistic and did not consider them errors. Overall, there is no reason not to give this book 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book to older teenagers and adults who enjoy reading books about revolutions, slavery, and the Civil War. Sensitive readers need to be aware that the book does contain some non-borderline profanity. The characters attend church services and pray, so you may want to avoid this book if you find this type of content offensive.
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