Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
Great Read! Look forward to sequel.
on November 3, 2011
Great reading for anyone interested in Irish migration, Buffalo history, Urban Sociology, union organizing or who have connections to the Irish First Ward or South Buffalo. The author Richard Sullivan tracks his Irish roots from Ireland through NYC to Buffalo's Irish First Ward covering 1850 to 1899. Based on family stories, newspaper clippings, library materials and archives, Sullivan integrates his family's experiences living, surviving and advancing in an Irish neighborhood of high poverty, high crime, unhealthy and unsafe living conditions. The story covers family loyalties in an environment of political corruption, exploitation of Irish laborers (e.g., scoopers, dock workers) by the Irish Doc boss and bar owner. It documents the use of taverns to galvanize laborers for profit, exploitation and eventually union organizing. Sullivan's book provides an understanding of the need for and rise of unions during the early years of Irish migration and offers insight into how a community became economically and socially stratified.
My brother and I loved the book. It is about the exact streets where our grandparents lived and Mom and her siblings grew up. One of the people featured in Sullivan's book was her uncle, Mike Regan, Chief of Police. Like many people born in the First Ward, my Mom loved the First Ward. She didn't know they were poor, had great friends, was allowed to roam the neighborhood and the lumber yards. She ends a short story about growing up in the First Ward with "Turn back, Turn Back. Time in your flight. Give me yesterday just for to-night."