Driving The King

Driving The King

A Novel

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The war is over, the soldiers are returning, and Nat King Cole is back in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, for a rare performance. His childhood friend, Nat Weary, plans to propose to his sweetheart, and the singer will honor their moment with a special song. While the world has changed, segregated Jim Crow Montgomery remains the same. When a white man attacks Cole with a pipe, Weary leaps from the audience to defend him, an act that will lead to a ten-year prison sentence. But the singer will not forget his friend and the sacrifice he made. Six months before Weary is released, he receives a remarkable offer: will he be Nat King Cole's driver and bodyguard in L.A.? It is the promise of a new life removed from the terror, violence, and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama. Weary discovers that, while Los Angeles is far different from the Deep South, it a place of discrimination, mistrust, and intolerance where a black man, even one as talented and popular as Nat King Cole, is not wholly welcome.
Publisher: ** E-Book // Click on DOWNLOAD link to place holds
ISBN: 9780062199157
Branch Call Number: EBOOK TEXT
Alternative Title: OverDrive


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Mar 22, 2015

Fiction about the 1960’s is always enlightening for me. I grew up in the 60’s, sheltered in northern small town. With only three tv stations and poor reception, we were bystanders to what was happening in the south. Montgomery Alabama, Martin Luther King, the Bus Boycott had nothing to do with my life. It takes a novel 40 years later to show me that those were important to me. I’ve always loved Nat King Cole’s music, but I’m going to be listening to it differently from now own, grateful for those people who were strong enough and courageous enough to stand up for what their rights. It also helps me understand the PBS program on how black parents have to talk to their kids about an encounter with the police. We’ve still got a long way to go and there’s plenty of fodder now about equal rights for historical novels 40 years from now dealing with the same subject.

Mar 22, 2015

An engrossing novel set in southern USA in the fifties revolving around the African American community from the perspective of Nat King Cole's driver. A telling expose of racism in all it's guises and forms.

Feb 27, 2015

This book is excellent. Well written and engaging...Howard's writing style is elegant and economical. His scenes are created with a minimum of words, yet the reader is completely drawn into the milieu. The characters are all so authentically portrayed, I felt as if I knew them...and loved them.
This book is destined for a big award, I have no doubt. One remarkable fact is it's lack of profanity, extreme graphic violence, and raunchy sex. Touche'.

ChristchurchLib Feb 17, 2015

Loosely based on historical events, this is the story of two men - one real, one fictional - who share a name and a history, though not a destiny. Nat King Cole is a famous singer; Nat Weary, his boyhood friend, is the audience member who intervenes when a white man attacks Cole during a show in Montgomery, Alabama. For his bravery, Weary is charged with inciting a riot and sentenced to ten years in prison. Shortly before Weary's release, Cole offers him a job as his chauffeur and bodyguard. Eager to escape the Jim Crow South, Weary accepts and accompanies the singer to Los Angeles, where Cole will host a groundbreaking television variety program but where even the bright lights of stardom can't banish the shadows of racism. Historical Fiction February 2015 newsletter.


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Oct 29, 2015

"He played the kind of music that made people feel generous enough to kick in an extra penny or two in tip money, as Nat's crooning could get somebody from here to there a little bit faster, make the ride that much smoother." (Nat Weary of Nat "King" Cole)


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