Decades ago, "Drum" and "Mandingo" kicked off a potboiler series revolving around the plantation, slaves and owners at Falconhurst. As shocking today as it was the day it was published, "Mandingo" and the series of books face a new audience and a whole new world in the year 2001. They are full of sex and sin, horror, gruesome torture, injustice and human suffering. They may read like "Valley of the Dolls" and yet the reader has to take a breath and realize these fictionalized accounts of slave life cannot be far off from the truth. Don't allow yourself to fall into three of the usual traps, however. 1. These books were written and received as trashy novels of the higher variety, meaning amidst the sex and sin, there was a message to the story, one would have to be rather dim to miss it. Never are they presented as the complete historical works of the horrors of slavery. 2. These books may included the talk and theory of white supremacy, but neither is glorified nor are the books "tools" of the white man to keep the black man down. Written in the 70's, the books were penned to be exploitive, graphic/trashy bestellers and they were, Mandingo being one of the biggest sellers. They are exploitive, while interesting in many parts, sexually and violently graphic, and would never be published in this day and age. 3. They were written in a time prior to political correctness being attempted into every single piece of literature being written. Yes, Gentle Readers, there was such a time. More (or less) than a dissection of slavery and its origins, this book stands as a mirror into 1970's literature and what we read. No more, no less. For that reason alone, I give the book a 4.