SHOUTS, a novel of love and war, tells of a once-thriving, long-vanished New York immigrant society. I am a hybrid third-generation child of these people, an Irish-German American “mongrel.” And such mongrels are legion in America. German and Irish blood courses through the veins of almost 100 million of us. Indeed, America is a mongrel nation.
SHOUTS recreates the nature of that time when a century of world peace was shattered by an assassination in Sarajevo of an archduke and his wife on June 28, 1914. A month later the world went to war and in four years it had killed seventeen million of its citizens. Whatever innocence was left died too. SHOUTS tells of the destructive forces of war on the home front. To the people, their hopes and dreams, their loves. To the community, to its economic and social achievements, and its reputation. And to democracy, to its high-blown principles, its rock-solid protections, its fragility. How quickly things change. All that was once indisputably solid indeed can melt into air. Now, as then, we live in the stink and shadow of war. Now, as then, we struggle to confront the real relations with our fellow citizens of this world. Then, the danger was the Germans. Now, it is someone else. How some things remain the same.
It is 1915. A great war is coming to America. You are in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, a bastion of ethnic German enterprise and culture, and struggling Irish laborers. German spies and saboteurs roam the city. Firebrand Irish soapbox orators inflame crowds with anti-war speeches. Paranoia, hatred, and politics rage in the streets. The social and economic fabric of the city begins to unravel. Enraged by the sinking of the Lusitania, pro-war thugs severely injure a German junk dealer and his grandson, young Tommy Muldoon. The boy’s Irish nationalist father collaborates with German terrorists with disastrous consequences for himself and his family. Under this tumultuous backdrop, young Muldoon takes over the junk business and sets out to save his family, by day in the junkyard, by night taking boxing instruction from an ex-fighter Catholic priest. And at the end, Tommy Muldoon stands alone in the ring facing his destiny. And the reader, by knowing better those particular times past, now better understands the times today.
A sumptuous tapestry, interwoven with meticulously researched details, SHOUTS tells of the last days of the pre-World War I golden age. The richly detailed narrative orchestrates the profuse voices of its characters—priests and bartenders, boxers and violinists, politicians and brewmasters. They shout out loud their stories, telling of their origins, their hopes, their fears, their dreams, their loves. The book resounds with the symphony of those tempestuous days full tone and tint. While of Irish and German roots, these people stand for all the subsequent generations of races, colors and creeds who still arrive from distant lands to make new lives in America. They stand for all of us. We are their children. They live in our marrow. We are one with all distant lands, all of us Americans, all of us from some place else, all of us foreigners. SHOUTS tells everyone's story.
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Format: paperback or e-book, 576 pages Publisher: Booklocker.com ISBN: 978-1-61434-440-7