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Publisher's Summary

They came by boat from a starving land, and by the Underground Railroad from Southern chains, seeking refuge in a crowded, filthy corner of hell at the bottom of a great metropolis. But in the terrible July of 1863, the poor and desperate of Paradise Alley would face a new catastrophe, as flames from the war that was tearing America in two reached out to set their city on fire.
©2003 Kevin Baker; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Brilliant research and compelling characters." (AudioFile)
"The combination of momentous events, tellingly real aspects of lower-class 19th-century life, and raw emotions like fear and pride make this a viscerally affecting story." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By PA Law on 08-31-06

Gripping yet gruesome tale

This book captures a series of events during the Civil War that I believe the authors of textbooks have deliberately chosen to ignore--the draft riots in New York. The novel, well narrated by its author, captures the cruel frenzy of mob psychology as bands of toughs, and otherwise regular citizens, go on a seemingly unending destruction of the city and particularly the lynching and humiliation of its African-American residents. Yet amid this evil chaos, the novel contains carefully crafted stories of human love and survival. First person narratives are interspersed to create a plot that is engaging and poignant--a job well done!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Richard on 01-30-10

couldn't finish

I gave two stars because I can't really rate the book. I will say that authors that try to narrate their own stories are delusional, stupid, and probably very cheap. The narration in this book is not good and the story seems to have no direction or too many. I like first person stories that are more like I did this or we did that. Might be fine for others but not me.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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