The Great Absquatulator
Published by: Baraka Books
Imprint: Baraka Books
Sales Date: 2022-05-01
Published: May 2022
Imprint: Baraka Books
Page Count: 280 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
280 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in
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Alfred Thomas Wood was nothing and everything. A century before Ferdinand Demara, "The Great Impostor" of the 1961 Hollywood film of that name, Wood was the Great Absquatulator, a man who roved through the mid-19th century from Halifax, N.S., to New England, Liberia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Montreal, the U.S. Mid-West and the South.
He self-identified as an Oxford-educated preacher in Maine and Boston, then as a Cambridge-educated doctor of divinity in Liberia, despite the fact that neither of those universities admitted black students at that time. He was almost dispatched to Australia in 1853 but missed that boat by the skin of his teeth and instead spent 18 months in an English lockup. In Hamburg in 1854, he published a history of Liberia in German.
Later, in Montreal, he styled himself the Superintendent of Public Works of Sierra Leone. He served the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois as an Oxford-educated DD, then toiled in post-Civil War Tennessee as a Cambridge-trained MD. People who knew him couldn?t wait to forget him.
In this meticulously-pieced-together biography of the Great Absquatulator A.T. Wood, Frank Mackey wittily casts new light on the momentous mid-19th-century events that shaped the world we live in today.
"Waging a one-man con game against a society that set out to crush him, Wood emerges as a flawed but fascinating historical character. (...) [an] impressively researched biography." Kate Jaimet Canada's History
"The Great Absquatulator is a feat of historical sleuthing, dogged archive-digging and sure-handed storytelling. It adds to Frank Mackey's already considerable list of credits as a groundbreaking chronicler of the Black presence in 19th-century Quebec and elsewhere." Ian McGillis, The Montreal Gazette
"Here's a great non-fiction title from Baraka Books that will surely stand as one of my favourite reads of 2021. True crime? Check. Historical true crime? Check. International true crime? Check. Well-researched? Check. This book checks all the proverbial boxes for its genre(s). Frank Mackey has compiled a truly fascinating story of the life of Alfred Thomas Wood, a truly great imposter, but an incredibly absurd one at times." James Fisher, The Miramichi Reader