This author is so very different than most. Most authors slowly introduce you to their characters and landscape. Gradually painting a portrait and easing the reader into the lives, hearts, attitudes and historical time period of their characters. And in so doing, hope the reader can relate to a character, or to a circumstance in their own life and want to continue to conclusion. But not Preston Love. He plunges the reader headfirst into the action. Having more Kahunas than most, he quickly introduces the reader to the stark reality and the economic depression that is North Omaha. The reader is soon educated that in the midst of a great economic boom and being home of one of the world’s richest men, (and many more millionaires and billionaires), the tiny population of north Omaha is listed among US cities with the highest level of African American child poverty. Continually the author gives us so much disturbing food for thought, he has the reader frantically pulling up graphs, polls, and research numbers and calling their own cherished sources. Preston courageously explains the baffling push back and road blocks to including black business, and specifically contractors and engineers in any, small or large, city and federal projects and private enterprises. He tries to explain the baffling question of how raising several thousand families out of abject poverty harms the continuing financial explosion and hyper-boom of the city. Preston lays out his resume in politics and the civil rights movement and then with authority explains how poverty and want have created an alternate and parallel economic system, sometimes including criminal enterprises.
Quickly the reader realizes that finishing this fast paced in-your-face book will be painful. It is painful, but not in the way the reader thinks. Just like the participant in the ice bucket challenge mistakenly thinks the pain will come from loss of their money pledged to the cause, so the reader thinks their pain will come from facing stark realities presented in this book. But the ice bucket participant soon finds out the real pain is when the bitter cold ice shards roll down the sensitive skin on his neck. And the excruciating shock of the frigid water beginning at the top of their head and engulfing their whole body in…..
What is the real pain to our reader? The pain for the reader of this book is landing firmly amidst Michael Jackson’s lyrics, “The Man in the Mirror”; I‘m looking at the man in the mirror. I’m asking you to change your ways…..nothing could be any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, then look at yourself and make that change. Make that change.
The whole book is really a challenge. Man in the mirror. What change will you make?