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BOOK CORNER: Western drama shows fight for racial justice and its costs

Set in 1904 Wyoming, the western drama “All Man’s Land,” by David Laszlo Conhaim, chronicles the story of the Paul Robeson-inspired hero Benjamin Neil, an escaped slave and Civil War hero who fights for racial and social justice on the American frontier and beyond.

Inspiration for the book came from a Paul Robeson album Conhaim found in his grandparents’ record collection as a teenager.

“I was soon collecting his music and consuming books about him,” Conhaim said.

“All Man’s Land” is mostly fiction but combines elements of memoir and biography.

“Paul Robeson casts a giant shadow over the book, but I drew from others’ stories, too, to create the character of Benjamin Neil — an escaped slave and Civil War veteran who becomes a crusader for social justice,” Conhaim said.

The author began work on this book decades ago.

“It was 30 years ago that I wrote the first draft of ‘All Man’s Land,’” Conhaim said. “I finished it in L.A. around the time of the [1992] riots. But I reached back to publish it now feeling that Robeson’s concept of a ‘oneness of people’ should give us pause today.”

It’s intended for readers who remember Paul Robeson and the younger generations who may have no knowledge of him.

“This little book has a big purpose: to serve as a departure point for further investigation of a man who fought for human dignity and freedom across the world — but especially at home — and paid a terrible price for it,” Conhaim said. “Paul Robeson deserves to be remembered as one of the most accomplished, admirable, and globally influential people this nation has ever produced.”

“All Man’s Land” is the final installment in a historical trilogy.

In addition to being an author, Conhaim has a company that provides corporate training and advising services. He is based in Israel.

Conhaim is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota and a graduate of the University of Southern California. To learn more about the author and his work, visit dlazloconhaim.com.

“All Man’s Land” is available for $11.90 (paperback) and $9.99 (Kindle) through most online retailers. It may also be ordered through local booksellers.