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Other titles in the City of Fire Trilogy series:

Paradise Alley (P.S.)

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Paradise Alley (P.S.) Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Kevin Baker is quickly altering the landscape of American historical fiction. His first novel, Dreamland, burst into flames three years ago — a hypnotic portrayal of Coney Island designed to parallel the chaotic city of New York in 1911. His latest, Paradise Alley, stays on Manhattan, but it moves back to the Civil War, rescuing from national amnesia the worst riot in US history.

Baker's descriptions of New York City could be more pungent only with scratch 'n' sniff inserts. While Dreamland rose into the lurid surrealism of the carnival, for this more grounded history, Baker has only to follow the ghastly imagination of the rioters, whose deeds he unearthed in contemporary newspaper accounts. Indeed, this mammoth book threatens Cormac McCarthy's position as the country's most violent novelist." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At the height of the Civil War, word spreads through the poorest quarters of New York City that a military draft is about to be implemented — a draft from which any rich man's son can buy an exemption. The outrage this inspires escalates into the worst urban conflagration in American history.

Down in the waterfront slum of Paradise Alley, three women — Deirdre Dolan O'Kane, Ruth Dove, and Maddy Boyle — struggle with their private fears as they wait for the storm to descend upon them. Deirdre, devastated by the news that her husband, Tom, has been wounded at Gettysburg, must turn for comfort and aid to two women she has always judged as morally depraved — Ruth, married to an ex-slave, and Maddy, a hard-living prostitute.

Kevin Baker's acclaimed masterpiece is an unforgettable portrait of three women who come together to protect their homes and families from the brutality of a city — and a nation — gone mad.

Review:

"[A] terrifying, human story bursting with all the calamity, brutality and power of the riots themselves....[Baker] give[s] readers an invigorating, heartbreaking tale of the immigrant experience." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[D]eftly plotted, fabulously detailed, and never less than absorbing. An authoritative blend of documentary realism and driving narrative that's just about irresistible." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[A] richly detailed, impeccably researched drama....[H]istorical fiction fans will relish the book's grand sweep as they savor its well-crafted parts." Brad Hooper, Booklist

Review:

"Extraordinary....Baker achieves a hallucinatory realism packed with sensory detail." Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"Baker's period detail can be both gripping and gruesome....Fortunately, he lavishes the same painstaking attention on his characters, flawed players in a drama whose vast scope they only dimly imagine. (Grade: A-)" Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

The critically acclaimed novel Dreamland established Kevin Baker as "one of America's best new writers" (Boston Herald). Now, with Paradise Alley, he emerges as one of the most important voices of his generation. Currently at work on the third volume of his City of Fire trilogy, Mr. Baker is also the author of the novel Sometimes You See It Coming and served as chief historical researcher for the nonfiction bestseller The American Century. He is married and lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

jpr1492, December 24, 2010 (view all comments by jpr1492)
One of the greatest joys in reading is finding a book that you can’t put down, a tome that you put things off for and create excuses to get back to. Well, Paradise Alley is one of those novels. With characters both empathetic and despicable, this story of the New York City draft riots during the Civil War is a brutal tragedy told with an almost poetic voice. It’s disturbing, riveting and literally one of the best books by a modern author out there.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Elizabeth L, June 10, 2010 (view all comments by Elizabeth L)
I don't normally like historical fiction, but couldn't get enough of this book. It vividly depicted the New York draft riots through a diverse and amazing cast of characters. I loved it and can't wait to read other historical novels by Kevin Baker.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
sunflowerscnh, March 5, 2008 (view all comments by sunflowerscnh)
When I read this book (recommended to me by a fellow Powell's shopper standing by) I was shocked that I had never heard about the New York Draft Riots in 1863. I have never really had any interest in American History. This book is well written and urges the reader on, even through tough subject matter. The characters are so very real, all of their human flaws exposed to create a web of very different viewpoints as they all work towards their common goal of survival. Gritty and palatable. You will find yourself transported to the streets of NY. This book inspired me to learn more about the Civil War, and especially this specific event in our history. Give it a chance, it's worth your time.
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(8 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060875954
Author:
Baker, Kevin
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
by Kevin Baker
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Draft Riot, New York, N.Y., 1863.
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20060103
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
704
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in 15.04 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Military
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Paradise Alley (P.S.) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.99 In Stock
Product details 704 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060875954 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "[A] terrifying, human story bursting with all the calamity, brutality and power of the riots themselves....[Baker] give[s] readers an invigorating, heartbreaking tale of the immigrant experience." Publishers Weekly
"Review A Day" by , "Kevin Baker is quickly altering the landscape of American historical fiction. His first novel, Dreamland, burst into flames three years ago — a hypnotic portrayal of Coney Island designed to parallel the chaotic city of New York in 1911. His latest, Paradise Alley, stays on Manhattan, but it moves back to the Civil War, rescuing from national amnesia the worst riot in US history.

Baker's descriptions of New York City could be more pungent only with scratch 'n' sniff inserts. While Dreamland rose into the lurid surrealism of the carnival, for this more grounded history, Baker has only to follow the ghastly imagination of the rioters, whose deeds he unearthed in contemporary newspaper accounts. Indeed, this mammoth book threatens Cormac McCarthy's position as the country's most violent novelist." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

"Review" by , "[D]eftly plotted, fabulously detailed, and never less than absorbing. An authoritative blend of documentary realism and driving narrative that's just about irresistible."
"Review" by , "[A] richly detailed, impeccably researched drama....[H]istorical fiction fans will relish the book's grand sweep as they savor its well-crafted parts."
"Review" by , "Extraordinary....Baker achieves a hallucinatory realism packed with sensory detail."
"Review" by , "Baker's period detail can be both gripping and gruesome....Fortunately, he lavishes the same painstaking attention on his characters, flawed players in a drama whose vast scope they only dimly imagine. (Grade: A-)"
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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