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Haymarket (2004)

Haymarket (2004)
3.59 of 5 Votes: 4
1583226184 (ISBN13: 9781583226186)
seven stories press
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Haymarket (2004)
Haymarket (2004)

About book: Duberman is a renowned historian, and a very fluent writer to boot. I wanted to see how he used this historic event, and the real people involved in it -- including the two central characters, Lucy and Albert Parsons, as a novel. He used lots of archival material, newspaper accounts and even biographies of the principals -- and yet this is fiction. Can you tell a deeper truth that way? Can we learn more about what was on their minds? At first, I didn't think he got the right balance -- too much exposition, which detracted from the reader (well, me) getting intimate with the characters. But when he got into the trial, and the clemency appeal, and the drama of the story matched the heightened emotions of the characters, I was completely drawn in.

I read this book for one of my grad classes. It does start off slow, but builds up speed. Albert and Lucy Parsons along with a handful of friends they meet along the way are speaking out against the harsh labor conditions of the Chicago working class in the late 1800s. Much of the novel centers around the events leading up to the Haymarket bombing and massacre. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into detail of who is accused of the bombing and what becomes of them. There are journal entries and letters between Albert and Lucy throughout the book regarding events and happenings of the the times. This piece of historical fiction is interesting, but does have plodding moments. Push through them.
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A historical fictionalization of some of the events and characters in the Haymarket Massacre by an eminent historian. As you might expect, the history is generally strong and conveys the overall flavor of the times and movement. Unfortunately, the dialogue is mostly a wooden catastrophe and the characterizations basically straight from central casting. It's a bit painful to read. It did seem to end somewhat more strongly than it begins, from a writing standpoint. I did finish it though, so engrossing was the treatment of the historical events.
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