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Review: ‘2236’—A novel by Milton McGriff
Review: ‘2236’—A novel by Milton McGriff
By Ashahed M. Muhammad - Book Review
Updated Sep 21, 2007, 12:32 pm
Vigilante. The term is used to describe those who “take the law into their own hands” when they deem the response of the authorities to be insufficient. Vigilantism is usually denounced by official agencies, especially when it moves into the area of criminal behavior on the part of the vigilantes, even if such illegal actions ultimately save lives.
Fiction writing regarding clandestine revolutionary movements in the Black community is a one-book genre. The book, “The Spook Who Sat By The Door” by Sam Greenlee has represented the genre since it was written in 1969. It was really the only book approaching the subject of the possibility of armed insurrection by disenfranchised and dissatisfied Blacks to achieve any widespread prominence.
It is now a two-book genre with the release of the spellbinding novel “2236” by Milton McGriff.
“2236” takes place at a time in the not too distant future. The masses of the people are disturbed by the erosion of democracy, civil liberties and the obvious reckless disregard for the will of the people demonstrated by the government of the United States.
After decades of so-called advances in race relations in America, it is once again open season on Blacks. Police shootings of unarmed Black men, women and children are up; the civil rights movement has demonstrated its impotence, and the people are down and out.
When the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness rings hollow for most, and when a government that is “democratically” elected to represent the will of the people only works for a select few, the masses cry out for justice and their natural longing creates the means by which justice is delivered.
The people are asking, “Who will protect us, when the U.S. government looks the other way and makes excuses?” When tragedy strikes close to home, a journalist named Andy Blackman asks himself: “Where do I stand?”
The outspoken leader of the militant Covenant of the New Commandment has a different type of question: “What would The Creator have us do?” A mysterious group called Unit 2236 has a very clear and definite answer for the people: “We will protect and defend you.”
“2236” takes the reader into the dynamics of race relations, the role of religion in liberation, the anguish of repression, and the power and strength of focused and directed tactical resistance.
You may be familiar with best-selling political thrillers written by Tom Clancy and John Grisham, both known for their technically detailed espionage and military based storylines. Those are written from a Eurocentric perspective and are really just imperceptibly cloaked White-supremacist propaganda.
“2236” is written by a Black man with a Black perspective. The satisfying character development, the explanation of the mitigating circumstances surrounding events and the unexpected plot twists are refreshingly unique. Unlike many of our creative and talented Black fiction authors, McGriff maintains his integrity and the integrity of the writing craft by taking the time to truly develop a multi-layered and action-oriented narrative.
In the past, the term “Black literature” referred to great works by Black writers such as “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. DuBois or perhaps Richard Wright’s “Native Son” or Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”
A new Black literary genre has emerged, referred to euphemistically by industry insiders as “urban fiction.” This genre (also called “ghetto lit” or “street lit”) largely consists of novels promoting homosexuality, glorifying drug dealing exploits or describing tales of infidelity and varied forms of betrayal and skullduggery. A small sampling of titles in this Black-oriented genre include: “Bad Girlz,” “Threesome,” “Married to a Married Man,” “B-More Careful,” “A Hustler’s Wife,” “Thugs and the Women Who Love Them,” and “Lipstick Diaries,” just to name a few.
Is this the best that our brilliant Black writers have to offer? Flooding the book industry with tales of the raw underbelly of the Black experience in America hoping to capitalize financially on the current perceived popularity of and demand for urban fiction?
If you have grown tired of those types of tales depicting “urban drama” yet are a fan of Black urban fiction, “2236” is definitely for you. Those other types of books have effectively reduced shelf space for serious Black literature written by those with the desire to use their writing skills to create entertaining and informative works aimed at elevating the consciousness of the people.
Milton McGriff is one of those serious writers and “2236” is a remarkable work of serious mental entertainment.
(To read excerpts of the book and to order your copy, visit AMM Publishing, LLC at www.ammpublishingllc.com.)
Author: Milton McGriff
Pages: 419 Pages
Publisher: AMM Publishing LLC; First Edition
2007 FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com