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The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
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The Given Day (2008)

by Dennis Lehane

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2,2831192,795 (4.03)249
Recently added byEpat8, jamieandbrian, Mischenko, private library, kerryp, Bnickle, johnstod, msangerman, SwaledalePL
  1. 40
    Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo (jessiebennett)
    jessiebennett: Lehane drew on this book for inspiration and he cites it in the acknowledgments.
  2. 20
    The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry (oregonobsessionz)
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    The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett (shearon)
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    Lonely Crusade by Chester Himes (Babou_wk, Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Le mouvement ouvrier et les organisations syndicales au début du XXe siècle. Les relations entre prolétariat blanc et communauté noire. La ségrégation raciale.
    Babou_wk: Le mouvement ouvrier et les organisations syndicales au début du XXe siècle. Les relations entre prolétariat blanc et communauté noire. La ségrégation raciale.
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    In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: La lutte des classes, l'organisation d'une grève. Les pratiques anti-communistes aux États-Unis dans la première moitié du XXè siècle.
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English (108)  French (5)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All (120)
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Description
Boston beat cop Danny Coughlin longs to step out of the shadow of his father, a legendary police captain. But his resolve is put to the test when he attempts to infiltrate the bands of anarchists and radicals threatening the city. Caught up in a vortex of change, Danny becomes entangled with an Irish immigrant maid and makes the acquaintance of Luther Laurence, a black man on the lam after a murder in Tulsa. Historic events touched on are the Spanish Influenza pandemic and the Boston Police Strike of 1919.

This was a little slow to start for me as it wasn't what I expected. But I was soon drawn into the lives of Danny and Luther, their conflicts with their families and employers, and the unfairness and toughness of some of the situations they got into. It was a good story and I enjoyed it. ( )
  gaylebutz | Jul 22, 2017 |
This was one of those books that I raced through, and then immediately started missing the characters as soon as I was done. But I'm sure we'll be seeing them again; Luther, after all, was left in Greenwood in 1919, just two years before the Tulsa Race Riot. It will be interesting to see what Lehane does with that. ( )
  VintageReader | Jul 9, 2017 |
I loved this book. I was really caught up in the narrative. Lehane is a fantastic storyteller and his prose is readable, compelling, and insightful -- often all at once. It was also a fascinating time period - early 20th century Boston with the milieu of immigrants attempting a new life. I really felt like I was there, with the sights, sounds, and smells of the city in that era. It was the kind of book that I could just read huge stretches of at once, so even though it's long it was a quick read. It's also the kind of book where you don't really pay attention to the clock and just keep reading. Great characters as well, complex, with full ranges of motives. And it ends well. Perfect. Now I'm excited to read book two in this series, "Live by Night."
  wintersdoor | Jul 2, 2017 |
Boston 1st Policeman's strike — Excellent, Boston History, Irish Catholic family — unions, etc.

The Given Day tells the story of two families—one black, one white—swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power.

Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals.

Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.
  christinejoseph | Jun 19, 2017 |
Although the historical events in The Given Day are almost a hundred years old the writing, the characters, and the sociopolitical topics kept the suspense level high. The eventual outcome of one major theme, the Boston Police Department strike, is a matter of record but the plot was never predictable. The Babe Ruth vignettes set the characters and storyline firmly in the era right after The Great War and gave them the feel of authenticity. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
The robust historical background of strike and riot and fear of revolution, combined with a corny story in which everyone gets their prescribed comeuppance or reward, turns into an odd cross between Don DeLillo and Harold Robbins.
added by Stir | editThe Guardian, Chris Petit (Jan 30, 2009)
 
What happens when a city's police force goes on strike? Is bloody mayhem in the streets guaranteed, or will common sense and civilised behaviour prevail? The city in question is Boston in 1919, the police strike really happened and the answers are in The Given Day, a superb new historical novel by the Boston-born writer Dennis Lehane.
added by Stir | editThe Telegraph, Richard Grant (Jan 20, 2009)
 
The Given Day is an audacious novel, more ambitious than anything Lehane -- the author of Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone -- has previously attempted ... which is saying something. The 700-page book isn't perfect but its flaws are easily forgiven, especially when Lehane is going to such unusual lengths to develop his characters and his plot.
added by Stir | editOregonian, Steve Duin (Dec 10, 2008)
 
“The Given Day” may not be the ­ecstatic “yes” its scope implies — it’s too long, and peopled by too many cartoonish villains — but it does represent a huge leap forward for Lehane.
added by Stir | editNew York Times, John Freeman (Oct 17, 2008)
 
Meticulously researched and rich in period detail, it pulls the reader so rapidly through its complex and interesting story that it's easy to lose sight of its shortcomings.
 
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Epigraph
When Jesus comes a calling, she said,
He's coming 'round the mountain on a train.
--Josh Ritter, "Wings"
Dedication
for Angie, my home
First words
Due to travel restrictions placed on major league baseball by the War Department, the World Series of 1918 was played in September and split into two home stands.
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688163181, Hardcover)

Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane’s long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families--one black, one white--swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city’s most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.

Here, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era--Babe Ruth; Eugene O’Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson’s ruthless Red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge; and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Hoover.

Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time--including the Spanish Influenza pandemic--and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.

“[An] engrossing epic. . . . A vision of redemption and a triumph of the human spirit.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author
Dennis Lehane is the author of seven novels. These include the New York Times bestsellers Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; and Shutter Island, as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, divide their time between Boston and the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Images from The Given Day

The Boston Molasses Disaster
The Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as the Great Molasses Flood, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. A large molasses tank burst and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph, killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on hot summer days the areas still smells of molasses. (From Wikipedia).

Headline from the Boston Post, September 9, 1919
Rioters clash with National Guardsmen called in by Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge during a strike by Boston police officers.

Emma Goldman
"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck."

Influenza
City officials in Boston were caught off guard when three civilians dropped dead of influenza in early September 1918. As September 1918 drew to a close, Boston had lost more than 1,000 citizens to the silent, relentless killer. The deadly influenza now posed a threat to the entire nation, and the world at large.

Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge (1872 - 1933) was a Republican lawyer from Vermont who worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor. His actions during the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight; he became the 30th President of the United States (1923 - 1929).


The Boston Molasses Disaster
The headline from the Boston Post, September 9, 1919


Emma Goldman
Influenza Mask
Calvin Coolidge

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:03 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, Dennis Lehane's eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the cross-roads between past and future. The Given Day tells the story of two families - one black, one white - swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife." "Here, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era - Babe Ruth; Eugene O'Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson's rudthless Red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge; and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Hoover." "Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time - including the Spanish Influenza pandemic - and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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