"Ragtime" is an American classic. It describes America in the beginning of the 20th century. Scott Joplin music is a favorite, Harry Houdini is a leading celebrity as is Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud.
The narrator tells the story of a family in New Rochelle, New York. Father is the head of the family, he joins Commander Parry on his trip to discover the north pole.
Coalhouse Walker is a successful black man at a time that a black man looking at a white man in the wrong way can lead to trouble. He's driving to New York when he becomes involved in an accident with the local fire department and tries to handle it correctly by going to a local policeman to report the accident.
Unfortunately, the accident was with a fire department and Will Conklin of the Emerald Isle Club was in charge. He was also the stepbrother of the Judge of the City Court and younger brother of the city alderman of white plains.
Wonderful character descriptions of the various characters as Coalhouse seeks justice but is held back by politics. His girlfriend, is pregnant and marriage is planned but Coalhouse insists that the wedding wait until his problem with the fire department is resolved.
A number of the characters are idealistic and tragedy results when Sophie, Coalhouse's pregnant girlfriend tries to pead the case to the visiting president. Unfortunately this results in a tragedy.
The setting is very visual, the music of Scott Joplin played in my mind as I read the story and enjoyed it thoroughly.