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Showing 1-10 of 28 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 35 reviews
on February 2, 2017
Hunky is anyone from Eastern Europe. Most males could not read or write, but what a work ethic. Their kids probably in the old country. They worked 12 hour days and most worked six days per week. There was a strong desire to earn enough to make it a family event. The first man worked his 12 hour shift and was paid $1.65 for the shift, He was on a mission. The author follows six individuals with their experiences and determination to make everything better for their family. It is historical fiction. There are chapter I want to be exact. He visited his grandmother's village. She had a daughter who had an ear infection and could not receive an education because she was female and had a handicap. The Nazis threw an explosive into their house because they would not be productive to Hitler's war effort. The author then visited his uncle's nearby village. The local priest told his congregation there were 15 Jews and he wanted to offer baptism to them---not to convert them but have a record to try to pasify the Germans. I couldn't put down the book.
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on September 21, 2016
Has great close-up details on Rusyn/Ruthenian/Rusnak/Ukrainian immigration that I've never found in other sources. Especially good for details about the process of getting from a remote village to actually being on a ship. Also, how messages and money were sent from American cities to family members back home. If you're looking for a personal feel more than politics, this is the best I've found.
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on December 6, 2010
Mr. Karas provides excellent background and perspective for the millions of people whose descendents are Rusnak, Slovak, Russian, Polish, Ukranian and similar lineage. He provides the economic, political and religous history that so dramaticaly impacted what people did in the Old Country and here in the US. He's done a lot of research to provide these perspectives and it greatly enhances the story of his family. If any of these are your background I definitely recommend you get and read this book.

It's difficult for me to explain what an impact this book had on me. The information gives me understanding for who I am and where I came from. All my family is described in this book. My four grandparents immigrated from what is now the Slovak Republic to Pennsylvania from 1890 to 1910. My mother's father was a coal miner, as was my father. My widowed mother worked in the Endicott Johnson shoe factories to raise her three children. I was born and grew up in the First Ward of Binghamton, New York. We lived on Baxter Street where Mr. Karas's family attended St. Mary's church.

I'm sure at times it must have been difficult for Mr. Karas to write some of his family history. All the more thanks to him for doing so to help others. A good book to discover one's heritage. I think it will be similar for many other ethnic groups as well. I'd give it more stars if I could.
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on May 3, 2011
I found this book to be as close to my family's story as any I have ever read. I had never heard of the term "Hunky" until quite recently but it was something my mother remembers hearing growing up in a Slovak neighborhood in the 1950's. The term means nothing to me because I'm a third generation American but I understand the derogatory meaning of it and how insulting it must have been.
This book was well written and had such rich detail. It spans the Rusyns in the old country, describing their hardships and their decisions to give it a go in America. I loved the chapters describing the journey across the ocean - it was so well detailed that one could almost feel seasick. The author probably did many years of family research and it shows. It was a little confusing to me because there were so many people intertwined in the story. A family tree in the back of the book would have been helpful.
Some of the book was very sad but it reminds you that in every family there are bad endings and mistakes made. Overall I think this book was hopeful and I was rooting for them at every step. It is a story about making your own American dreams come true. I was hoping for a good ending that left me with no questions of "then what happened?" and I think the author accomplished that for me.
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on November 15, 2009
Hunky by Nicholas Karas is novel, biography, history all rolled into one. This book will appeal to anyone with family roots in Eastern Europe. Especially those who have Grandparents and Great Grandparents who left their ancient homeland in search of a new life and crossed the storm tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean in search of this dream called America.

Many Americans have immigrant ancestors who crossed over from Europe but I will bet many have never stopped to understand what courage, commitment and even loss that those people had to endure to do start again in a new land. Nicholas Karas uses his family history and stories to explain this to his readers in great detail. From starvation and desperation in Galicia to vomit filled steerage aboard the ocean liners bringing them to America. Then the novelty of arrival and harsh reality of the mines and mills that absorbed the lives and dreams of these people. Our people.

For me, I felt a connection since my family immigrated from Slovakia in 1903. I now have a much better idea of what it must have been like for them to leave everything they knew for a dream. No internet, phone, TV or Radio. No planes, color photos and few cars. Most of them could barely read or write if at all, yet they took those fateful steps out of the fields of Eastern Europe, boarded the ships like human cattle to brave an ocean and chase the dream of America. Simply amazing. Mr. Karas has given me a vividly detailed look into my Great Grandfather's life and the sacrifice he made so that me and my family live the life we do now rather than the same one he lived. This book is a priceless gift. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand the why and how of their ancestors greatest journey.
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on June 30, 2013
I recently discovered that my Grandfather came from the Carpathian region. Just like the characters in the book, his family immigrated to Penn. in the early 1900s and worked in the coal mines. This book was a wonderful way to 'experience' what it must have been like for those families. I am truly grateful that Mr. Karas took the time to research and write this book. He did a nice job bringing the story to life. Well done!

However, I only gave it 4 stars because the book clearly was not well edited. I found numerous incorrect usage of words like 'loose' when it should have been 'lose' and 'bellow' when he mean 'below'. The author seems to write well, so the fact that so many editorial errors got into a published book is perplexing.
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on September 12, 2010
Note that this book is listed as a novel, but it's more in lines with what is sometimes referred to as "creative nonfiction".

Nick Karas did an excellent job on this book. Yes, it's in need of a proofreader in spots (e.g., "Hussein" instead of "Hessian", "loose" instead of "lose", etc.), but that's a minor quibble as it's a great story and it managed to get me looking into my family background as it's quite similar--I see that my family's name is listed in the Dictionary of Lemko Surnames and I never knew that before! Big zinger is in the last couple of chapters of the book--the Hermit is my favorite character in the book. If Mr. Karas didn't invent that part of the story and it's true, all I have to say is that I'm impressed with how the moon and stars lined up to get all of that to happen so he could talk to...The Hermit and resolve one of the major mysteries in the (autobiographical) novel.

I liked this book so much I sent a copy to my great aunt. It'll be fun picking her brain about stories her mother told her about immigration once she finishes reading it. Thanks, Nick--what a wonderful book, and I'm glad you took Michener's advice and wrote about what you know best!
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on January 17, 2014
My love for this Novel is due in part because my Wife, Sandra Studebaker, proofread the manuscript for the author Nick Karas. Then there is the fact that my wife's family as well as mine had considerable connections with life in Pittsburgh. Then at some point I got an understanding about those who remain Eastern Orthodox and continue to use the Julian calendar.It helped clear up how those people share religion and language but have no national boundaries of their own.
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on July 20, 2013
This book is more detailed than 'Out of this Furnace' (which is now going to be made into a movie) but confirms the stories my father would tell me. It was slave labor, first in the coal mines and then in the steel mills! I knew that I came from hard working people but this book really explains the whole immigration experience. My dad was second to be born in America and worked from the time he was 6 years old! The same with my mother - she was hired out to work as a nanny, housekeeper and maid. I haven't finished this book but I am thoroughly enjoying reading it.
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on March 4, 2015
This was a story similar to that of my grandparents from this area. My grandfather never spoke of the Old Country because he said it was too painful. He said he is an American now and does not want to talk about the past. He passed away in 1960 when I was 8 years old. I spent many hours at his home just up the street from where I lived. I helped with taking coal into the house, the lawn and shoveling snow from the what appeared to me at the time to be a very long driveway. This book brought me to tears at tines. I am from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. which was mentioned.
The reviews which spoke of spelling errors, poor sentence structure, WHO CAERES!!! Read for the enjoyment not be critical of some BS!!
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