by Cynthia Drew Book : Fiction
An Important Book   (2012-04-01)
Both my husband and I read this book and wonder whether the historical events in this wonderful novel are being taught today - Tammany Hall politics, New York's Gilded Age, the rise of Industrialization in the U.S. (and with it the trade unions), all the events that shape an emerging industrial nation.
Carsie Akselrod moves from the shtetls of Russia's Pale of Settlement to New York City's Lower East Side in the great tide of immigration at the turn of the twentieth century. With her younger sister, Lilia, in tow, the girls find they have moved from one kind of hell to another - the oppression, filth and poverty of the most crowded square mile on earth - the tenements of the Jewish ward on the Lower East Side. Both girls go to work and, in their daily lives, brush against people that will shape history: gangster Arnold Rothstein, anarchist Emma Goldman, the great photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and events that will do the same: the disastrous Triangle Waist fire, the rise of the women's garment workers union, World War I and the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.
This is a big book, and an important one, a teaching tool for the history of America in the early 20th century.
Was this review helpful to you?