Captain Roland P. Kahn's ancestors built the first department store in America and behaved like pirates, swallowing up other companies and other stores. The black MPs and partners in crime he commanded under General Patton didn't know that, but they called him Captain Kidd; he was a pirate himself. He'd graduated magna cum laude from Cornell, had a Phi Beta Kappa key, was engaged to marry a girl who was at least as rich as his mom--but he elected to steal. In the closing days of World War II in Germany, foraging ahead of the general's tanks, he did a lucrative business selling what the fleeing Germans had left behind--warehouses full of cognac, Cuban cigars, you name it. "Anything but gold. Gold goes right into the Third Army's vault."
But wars end and army officers say a tearful good-bye to their doughnut girls and hang up their uniforms. Captain Kidd is no longer the general's court jester and dog walker now. But he's still Captain Kidd. Karp & Co., his mother's store, has become a sinking ship--it's time for piracy. Macy's? Gimbel's? The captain has ways of getting them to build up Karp and Co., even though they aren't aware of their beneficence. And things at Karp's will never be the same. Gangsters come calling, and Roland's old MPs come down from Harlem to visit. Not the kind of thing that happened much in 1947.
In a kaleidoscope of satire, bitter comedy, and some heartbreak, Captain Kidd chronicles a war and how it shapes our lives well after. Charyn, a writer of strong individuality and an incisive observer of the lives we live, is also a highly satisfying entertainer in the best sense. Captain Kidd will move you, take you aback, make you laugh, cry a little, and maybe even think. But it will never fail to engage and delight you. [via]