The American Way

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Genre: Historical Fiction based on a true story    ISBN: 978-1-786950-58-1     Pages:  366

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After reading Operation Underworld this summer I settled down today to read Paddy’s new book, The American Way. Again an intriguing subject that made me flip page by page. It raised the hairs in the back of my neck. The exploitation of people in a deliberate even borderline sadistic way and keeping them under the heel by any means. Like Operation Underworld there are dots to connect to present day. Makes you think we should know better by now? Again Paddy, great book glad to have met you!

                                                                                       – Mr Rizikoo, Chicago, U.S.A.

Having always loved to read books that are based on true facts, I was looking forward to reading The American Way by Paddy Kelly. I wasn’t disappointed. The book is based on European immigrants working in America in 1912. What a story! I couldn’t put the book down. I’ve learned so much from this book – appalling facts on working conditions that many of our ancestors must have endured. If you like history or just enjoy reading a good book – this is the one for you!

                                                                                   – Ann Grennell, Dublin Ireland

I recently read ‘The American Way’ by Paddy Kelly. I don’t usually read non-fiction books, especially something on the subject of the labor struggle. My first reaction to seeing such a book would be to put it down and forget about it but having met Paddy Kelly and talking with him about a wide range of interesting subjects I gave it a try and am very glad that I did.

I had a slow start on the book but before long I was embroiled in the story which has very unique and diverse characters. I really felt like I was there and more than that, it has opened my eyes to the many travesties that we are still forced to live with as a result of greed and weakness. Read ‘The American Way’ you won’t regret it.

                                                              – Jonathan van Cittert, Johannesburg, S.A.

Synopsis: When Michael Casaburi and his beautiful daughter Anna sail from their home in Palermo to find a new life in America, there is no way to know they will land in the middle of one of the most violent labor wars in the country’s history.

New York City, 4:40 p.m., Saturday, 25th of March, 1911. Five minutes before quitting time an unexplained & devastating fire breaks out in a factory on the corner of Green & Washington Streets on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Although it lasts little more than fifteen minutes, scores of immigrant, garment workers are injured and the lives of 146 people, primarily young women and girls, are lost. This will remain the worst workplace disaster in the history of New York City until 9/11.

The Triangle Factory Fire is the inciting incident leaders all along the labor front have been waiting for and politicians have been dreading. The resulting nation-wide uprising prompts a Presidentially mandated, Congressional investigation which reveals that the deaths were caused by falsified safety inspection papers, refusal to comply with codes and fire exits being locked and barred to discourage the young girls from stealing scraps of cloth which they could not afford to buy and union organizers from entering the premises.

With pay-offs and promises, the owners of the Triangle Waistcoat Factory are cleared of any wrong doing by a disgraced judge who himself had faced charges of death due to negligence in the slums only a few years earlier.

The young men and women who suffered and perished in the fire, largely Italian and Jewish immigrants were part of the turn-of-the-century wave of up to 18,000 landing in N.Y.C. each month, to occupy a city already boasting up to 800 people per acre. They came seeking a place among the Land of Plenty, in the country where the streets were paved with gold and anyone could live The American  Dream. Unbeknownst to them, there is a reason it was called a dream.

The ensuing politicization of the disaster sparked another kind of war. One whose repercussions would produce tens of thousands more casualties and drag on for decades as the entirety of Tammany Hall, the U.S. Congress, the White House, William Randolph Hearst, J. P. Morgan and millions of workers involved in the labor struggle would involuntarily be sucked into.

As a result, the labor wars were catapulted to new heights when on January 12th, 1912 at 12 noon, 32,000 European immigrants comprised of 25 nationalities, 45 languages, (less than 10% of which spoke English), struck against John Pierpont Morgan, the richest man in the world. To add to the tension, they faced a hostile state governor and U.S. president, a racially motivated police force backed by the State Militia and the worst Winter New England had seen to date. Additionally, it was against a backdrop of wars raging in the Far East, The Balkans and North Africa, the most hotly contested U.S. election to date and the Suffragette Movement the no-holds-barred phase of the U.S. labor wars was launched.

In Book II of Paddy Kelly’s series Building of Empire: Crime & Politics, the Cornerstone of America, the epic drama of a forgotten story in U.S. history, its Class Wars, is told through a neglected chapter, the Lawrence Mill Strike of 1912.

With the ambiance and intensity of Reds and the spirit of Cabaret the story of the largest industrial action of its time, the Lawrence mill strike, The American Way chronicles the drama of people swept up in events larger than themselves however, not beyond their control as they refuse to capitulate to the most powerful men on the face of the planet.

The American Way is the true story of what European immigrants endured in burgeoning industrial America at the turn of the last century. Played out in seven weeks, in the dead of the worst New England winter in half a century, the story of this historic struggle invites you to come to America, land of the free. Home of the brave. Where the streets are paved with blood.

”Contributing to this modern, turn-of-the-century medieval atmosphere were the babble of scores of  foreign languages emanating from the 18,000 immigrants hemorrhaging into New York City each month.”

At the turn of the last century, the sprawling forests which used to cover eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and southern Georgia were sold by the Federal Government to the Lumber Interests for as little as 12 ½ cents an acre in tracts as large as 87,000 acres.  This land was public domain and as such was ear-marked for the building of houses and schools for the poor at a time when whole districts of schools were closing due to lack of funding.

  From the book:

‘Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry.    And I shall fuck them over.

                                                                                               – Lou reed, America.

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