Trade Ed. Harper Audio 2003
CS ISBN 006057514X $34.95 Seventeen cassettes
The author of the sprawling novel DREAMLAND, set in Coney Island at the turn of the century, brings another pivotal moment in America's history to life. This time, Baker focuses on one of the worst instances of civil disobedience in our nation's past--the Draft Riots of 1863. Told from varying points of view, the story is populated by a believable assortment of hard-drinking, tough-living immigrants, political bosses, and ne'er-do-wells. The deteriorating social conditions that led to the riots are painstakingly woven into an appalling tapestry. Real and fictional people and events flesh out the past with terrible accuracy. Baker narrates with gusto, but his pronunciation mistakes and atonal singing prove distracting. A professional narrator would have better served his brilliant research and compelling characters. S.J.H.
(c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine [Published: APR/MAY 04]