Book Report on the Spook That Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee

Book Report on the Spook That Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee


The spook who sat by the Door is a novel that presents the story of Dan Freeman, an intelligent, naturally athletic man who changes his loyalty consequently using his CIA expertise against his employers. The setting of the novel is set in a racially charged environment where Freeman is selected as one of twenty-three black men who was recruited to join the CIA. The training was set to be extremely difficult in that all member were expected to fail. Nevertheless, Freeman prevails and is selected for the CIA spy program. Nevertheless, despite his high ratings in training, he ended up being offered a desk job at the CIA headquarters. This position clearly was degrading to his proficiency considering it involved the use of a ditto machine; however, despite the mediocrity, he gets to meet Senator Gilbert Hennington. The Senator was the kind of individual who would do anything to reach his objective, which was to be reelected at all costs. It is through this initiative that Freeman uses his expertise against the government to reduce racism in the forces and society.

The book is a great read and a masterpiece that sets Sam Greenlee among all-time best writers. It represents an urban high-octane environment that is clearly published way before its time. The current African-American race faces different racially dissimilar challenges to the population in the 1960s; nevertheless, the book seems up-to-date to how the current community views and reacts to racial strains in the society. As indicated by Watkins Greenlee draws a vivid dividing line between the wishes of social norms to be accepted in the social norms of America and the desire to embrace one’s own cultural and racial background (112). Nevertheless, Dunn states that the pot seems as a fantasy of some sort (56). According to him, the way Freeman employees his spy skills, or meets up and challenges the senator is too movie-like and takes away the authenticity of the book. As indicated by Berry and Venise the fantasy of the book is what allows the reader to relate considering Freeman offers a social reprieve from continues racial oppression (35). A black revolutionist joining the CIA against all odds learns the art of being a spy, quits to support a group of his employers may seem superhero fiction but in reality, it is fixed up (Watkins 79). Freeman is presented as an edited Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King to most of the audiences of the book. He is edited to use power against the powerful and aid in making a social equalization.

Watkins indicates that the pace of the book makes it an easy read, entertaining as well as captivating (75). This allows the author to connect with his audience much easier passing the message in a conclusive manner. The movie version does not offers the authenticity of the acceleration the book does to its audiance.

In summary, there are not many manuscripts dated before the 1990s that are balanced to offer a non-biased social outlook on matters regarding racism or salary. Sam Greenlee achieves this in a manner that does not cause social upheaval but hope. According to Dunn due to the set-up of the book, the hope seems like a fantasy. This book is recommended to any reader who feels they are in need of literature that is racially nonpartisan.

Works Cited


Berry, Torriano, and Venise T. Berry. The Fifty Most Influential Black Films: Movies That Changed the Way We See America. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press/Carol Pub. Group, 1999. Print.

Dunn, Stephane. “baad Bitches” and Sassy Supermamas: Black Power Action Films. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008. Internet resource.

Greenlee, Sam. The Spook Who Sat by the Door: A Novel. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989. Print

Watkins, Rychetta. Black Power, Yellow Power, and the Making of Revolutionary Identities. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012. Print.