You may have one of the last opportunities to buy the children's book about the chef of the first U.S. President George Washington because the book was censored by the publisher after a series of attacks launched by the radical leftist movement that has no respect for the historical truth, the freedom of speech, or the founders of the United States of America.
The banned book is currently the #6 bestseller at amazon.com – the ban clearly helped this ranking – but you may expect that the free sales won't last too long. Petitions demanding the removal from amazon.com are collecting signatures and Amazon's stockpiles may be depleted, too.
Vanessa Brantley-Newton was the illustrator. The author, Ramin Ganeshram (picture), is a successful author of cookbooks and a chef, too. She holds a master degree in journalism, is an expert in the Washingtonian history, and has spent years by researching the topic of her book. Even her politically correct sex and the unusually politically correct mix of Trinidad and Persian ancestry didn't help her. After the initial support (see also the author's blog post about the book), Scholastic Publishing halted the distribution.
The book depicts the true story of an actual historical person, Hercules, a slave whom George Washington brought to his Mount Vernon mansion (Virginia, just South of D.C.) in 1790 (along with several others). He wasn't just some low-occupation slave. He was the chef and for years, he was happy with his position and George Washington admired him. Delia, a daughter of Hercules', is the narrator and proudly talks about her papa as the "general in the kitchen". The book focuses on the story about the birthday cake that George Washington needed even though he didn't have enough sugar at that time.
So the main "politically explosive" story that some people apparently find unacceptably controversial is how the black chef and others manage to deal with this logistic problem (which is similar to the well-known Slovak fairy-tale "Salt More Than Gold"). The book covers the cleverness of the chef while replacing the missing sugar – and also deeper topics such as his skills allowing him to succeed even an in a setup where he could be viewed as an underdog. The book describes slavery as evil and the slaves from the history were nice and smiling people who knew how to live well.
At the end, the book also mentions the true fact that Hercules (also known as Uncle Harkless) ultimately escaped the mansion in 1797 (it was Washington's 65th birthday; Delia and other kids from the group stayed with Washington), before he was officially freed by Washington. That didn't help, either. The radical leftists were offended that the book showed that the folks in Washington's pastry-cook were happy and proud about their position. What a terrible crime to point this historical fact out!
After the outburst by the SJWs, Scholastic published a new statement. While they still praise the author and the illustrator, we read that
...we believe that, without more historical background on the evils of slavery than this book for younger children can provide, the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn.In other words, the publisher surrenders and agrees that hundreds of pages of boring, one-sided, and misleading anti-slavery indoctrination is the only allowed way to present this topic to children of all generations and the integrity, good intentions, and expertise of the author and illustrator can't change anything about it.
Scholastic has a long history of explaining complex and controversial issues to children at all ages and grade levels. We do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation of information to younger children, despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor, and illustrator.
They also praise their own record of publishing books about blacks and for blacks – off-topic comments that show the irrationality of this whole exchange.
This portrait of a black cook by Gilbert Stuart probably shows Hercules, Washington's prominent slave.
Americans have often boasted that they enjoy the freedom of speech and expression. They were talking dismissively about Germany that banned Mein Kampf for decades (it was recently published, however). That could never happen in America, we were told. Except that in reality, you can't even publish a book about the happy and proud people who were baking a birthday cake for the first president of the country!
Mein Kampf was a recipe – one that the author has nearly transformed to reality – to erase whole nations from the face of the Earth. Because the actions planned by this "guide" seem dangerous, the book is regulated. On the other hand, Ganeshram's book is a true story about a birthday cake prepared for the first president of the most powerful country in the world today. Which of these things is more dangerous: the Holocaust or the birthday cake prepared by happy black slaves? The American SJWs clearly thing that the latter. The people who actually buy the idea that in some social arrangements, no happy people existed, are maximally brainwashed simpletons. Of course, in every regime (including the newborn U.S. or the Third Reich), the percentage of the happy people in every group is nonzero – just highly variable. One can't possibly understand anything about the history if he adopts a fully black-and-white picture.
The job occupation of a "slave and chef" may not sound maximally proud but many of these people did very well, they were happy – often more happy and productive than similar people are today – and the system worked. That's just how the society was organized even in the first decades after the U.S. declared their independence. George Washington has done more amazing things than thousands of his critics at the present combined.
While Washington's chef Hercules was formally enslaved, because of the context, he did important enough things in an arrangement where most men had the capacity to achieve basically anything. And the percentage of people who were officially enslaved was low. Today, Americans – and we mean basically all Americans – are much more enslaved than Chef Hercules has ever been. They're enslaved by the political correctness, by the de facto duty of every citizen of the U.S. to constantly say that everything about slavery and all other politically incorrect arrangements in the U.S. had to be bad.
But it wasn't the case. Yankees, you're living in lies and your brains are suffocating and slowly dying in a smelly left-wing prison cell, and many of your best people and experts and treated as subhumans by the people who would actually be low-rank (much lower than Hercules) slaves today if the meritocracy had continued. The PC arrangement you have in the U.S. is a form of slavery – it's an upside down slavery.
I am curious whether the book will be published elsewhere pr distributed otherwise. My guess is No. Just like in the era of the Inquisition, it's a full-fledged banned book. This censorship has nothing whatever to do with free decisions of any individual companies. It's about the fanatical left-wingers' control over all companies and all aspects of the society. If you stay in the U.S., you can't escape them. They have to be defeated and I don't recommend you to use velvet tools against those jerks.