The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire
A black child born on the US-Mexico border in the twilight of slavery, William Ellis inhabited a world divided along ambiguous racial lines. Adopting the name Guillermo Eliseo, he passed as Mexican, transcending racial lines to become fabulously wealthy as a Wall Street banker, diplomat, and owner of scores of mines and haciendas south of the border. In The Strange Career of William Ellis, prize-winning historian Karl Jacoby weaves an astonishing tale of cunning and scandal, offering fresh insights on the history of the Reconstruction era, the US-Mexico border, and the abiding riddle of race in America.
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[A] titillating historical detective story.
[E]legantly written...fascinating.--Vladimir Alexandrov
[Jacoby] presents Ellis' intriguing story...Equally intriguing is the history of the post-Civil War Texas-Mexican borderland. Jacoby's book may well have you searching his bibliography for books on that subject.
A work of admirable sleuthing...Jacoby has assembled a portrait of a man who deliberately sought to cover his own tracks.
Fascinating...[an] important slice of American history.--Karen M. Thomas
An irresistible account of one of the great tricksters of his time, a fearless border and barrier-crosser, an artist of the great escape.--Alma Guillermoprieto