Driving the King
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Date: January 2015
Duration: 7 hours 25 minutes
A daring and brilliant new novel that explores race and class in in 1950s America.
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. But 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 10-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: he will be Nat King Cole’s driver and bodyguard. 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 is 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.
An indelible portrait of prejudice and promise, friendship and loyalty, Driving the King is a daring look at race and class in pre-Civil Rights America, played out in the lives of two remarkable men.