Aisling, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Aisling)
I always enjoy reading Lehane, but thought this was his best book yet. He fascinated me by incorporating so many facets of that changing time period into an excellent novel. This book ties together changes in religious, racial, class, union and political issues and should be put on the required reading list for high school students to help them understand how the country got to where it is today.
FPE, January 27, 2010 (view all comments by FPE)
The Given Day brings the reader a true picture of life after The Great War, The Spanish Flu, and the unrest that was in Boston moreso than most any other city in the country. A really entertaining read!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In a splendid flowering of the talent previously demonstrated in his crime fiction (Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River), Lehane combines 20th-century American history, a gripping story of a family torn by pride and the strictures of the Catholic Church, and the plot of a multifaceted thriller. Set in Boston during and after WWI, this engrossing epic brings alive a pivotal period in our cultural maturation through a pulsing narrative that exposes social turmoil, political chicanery and racial prejudice, and encompasses the Spanish flu pandemic, the Boston police strike of 1919 and red-baiting and anti-union violence.Danny Coughlin, son of police captain Thomas Coughlin, is a devoted young beat cop in Boston's teeming North End. Anxious to prove himself worthy of his legendary father, he agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the Bolsheviks and anarchists who are recruiting the city's poverty-stricken immigrants. He gradually finds himself sympathetic to those living in similar conditions to his fellow policemen, who earn wages well below the poverty line, work in filthy, rat-infested headquarters, are made to pay for their own uniforms and are not compensated for overtime. Danny also rebels by falling in love with the family's spunky Irish immigrant maid, a woman with a past. Danny's counterpart in alienation is Luther Laurence, a spirited black man first encountered in the prologue when Babe Ruth sees him playing softball in Ohio. After Luther kills a man in Tulsa, he flees to Boston, where he becomes intertwined with Danny's family. This story of fathers and sons, love and betrayal, idealism and injustice, prejudice and brotherly feeling is a dark vision of the brutality inherent in human nature and the dire fate of some who try to live by ethical standards. It's also a vision of redemption and a triumph of the human spirit. In short, this nail-biter carries serious moral gravity. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Stewart O'Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster, A Prayer for the Dying, and Snow Angels,
"Rollicking, brawling, gritty, political, and always completely absorbing, The Given Day is a rich and satisfying epic. Readers, get ready to feast. This is a big book you won't want to put down."
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"Lehane masterfully blends his stories....Lehane captures the sense of a country coming of age, vividly dramatizing how the conflicting emotions and tortured dreams that drive individual human lives also send a nation roiling forward."
by Library Journal (Starred Review),
"[A] clear winner, displaying all the virtues the author has shown in his exceptional series of crime novels....Lehane's long-awaited eighth novel is as good as it gets."
by Janet Maslin, The New York Times,
"[S]tunning....[A] majestic, fiery epic that moves [Lehane] far beyond the confines of the crime genre....The Given Day is a huge, impassioned, intensively researched book that brings history alive by grounding the present in the lessons of the past."
by The Chicago Tribune,
"The Given Day serves up the historical novel's signature pleasures: sweeping narrative, period detail, entertaining cameos by real-life figures and the thrill of not knowing what's going to happen even when you know what's going to happen."
by Sarah Weinman, The Los Angeles Times,
"Despite its length and gargantuan scope of emotion and sociological ramifications, The Given Day is a smooth read....[It] may not pack the devastating wallop of Marquand's masterwork Point of No Return, but it should draw unintended strength from the latter's title."
by St. Petersburg Times,
"[A] rip-roaring [novel], packed with vivid characters and suspenseful action....[A] meticulously researched tale that in the hands of this master storyteller jumps right off the page and hollers."
by USA Today,
"This may be Lehane's finest work. His understanding of history, mixed with his skill as a writer...brings alive a period that sounds like the early 21st century....Lehane captures the essence of being American in a fast-changing society that eerily reflects our own."
by Seattle Times,
"Steeped in history but wearing its research lightly, The Given Day is a meaty, rich, old-fashioned and satisfying tale. I'd call it Lehane's masterpiece, but he's still young and, it is devoutly to be wished, ready to give us much more."
From New York Times-bestselling author Lehane comes a beautifully written novel of American history, set at the end of the Great War.
With soaring vision and profound intelligence, Robert Stone has written a harrowing, breathtaking novel about our desperate search, at any price, for the consolation of redemption - and about the people who are all too willing to provide it. A violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip, a mind-altering pilgrimage, a race through riot-filled Jerusalem streets, a cat-and-mouse game in an underground maze, a desperate attempt to prevent a bomb from detonating beneath the Temple Mount - Damascus Gate is an exhilarating journey through the moral and religious ambiguities that haunt the holiest of cities and its seekers, cynics, hustlers, and madmen. Set in Jerusalem, where violence, ecstasy, heresy, and salvation are all to be found, Damascus Gate is simultaneously the story of a man's search for truth - or some version of it - and the story of a city where sanity is casually traded for faith.
“A stunning novel by a great American writer.”—Washington Post
Jerusalem: home to seekers, heretics, hustlers, and madmen of many faiths. In this most fractious city, a plot unfolds to bomb the sacred Temple Mount.
Christopher Lucas, an expatriate American journalist, stumbles upon the plot while investigating religious fanatics. Entangled in the intrigue are a nightclub singer, an unstable Jewish guru, a strung-out Kabbalist seeking the messiah, and a soldier of fortune routinely found at the worlds violent clashes. A confrontation in Gaza, a chase through riot-filled streets, a cat-and-mouse game in an underground maze—as Lucas races against time, he uncovers the duplicity and depravity on all sides of Jerusalems sacred struggle.
An explosive bestseller, Damascus Gate lays bare the dangers at the fringes of faith.
“A transcendent thriller.”—Time
“Brims over with plots, subplots, and an impressive array of incisively drawn characters . . . The range of [Stones] knowledge is spectacular.”—The New Yorker
“Damascus Gate asks enormous questions about cosmic truth—and its effect on those who think they own it—with intensity, intellectual rigor and abiding morality.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.