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The Big Crowd

 
 
Author
Kevin Baker.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.25 inches
ISBN 9780618859900
Pages/Publication Date 424/2013
Daedalus Item Code 52609
This item is not available.
Description
Based on one of the great unsolved murders in mob history, and the rise and fall of a real-life hero, this novel from the author of the City of Fire trilogy is the sweeping story of Charlie O'Kane, an Irish immigrant who worked his way up from beat cop to mayor of New York in the city's post–World War II zenith. Famous, powerful, and married to a glamorous fashion model, he is looked up to by millions, including his younger brother Tom. So when Charlie is accused of abetting a shocking mob murder, Tom sets out to clear his brother's name while hiding a secret of his own. Kevin Baker gives us historical powerbrokers and gangsters, celebrities and socialites, scheming cardinals and battling, dockside priests.

"Baker's writing is strong—energetic, precise and especially notable for a parade of wonderful metaphors and similes.... Best of all, the novel delivers on what the title promises, a detailed rendering of the relationships within that era's power cabal. 'A city like New York,' Charlie tells Tom, 'it's got to have great men—not good men—to run it.... We're held together against the chaos by the grip of a few strong men, that's all.' Baker offers a vast array of secondary characters—cops and thugs, politicians, bureaucrats, clergymen, bosses and hangers-on—who grow increasingly vivid as they appear and reappear in the gradual recounting of various incidents, like the murder of Peter Panto, an upstart organizer on the docks. Actual historical figures, including Robert Moses and Cardinal Spellman, are served up unsparingly. I've read few other novels that portray in such a nuanced way the temptations of power, the complex division of control in a great metropolis and the perils of political deal-making in that environment. Baker doesn't like the Big Crowd any more than Tom O'Kane does, but, fortunately for us, he understands its workings very well."—NYTimes

 
 
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