Author(s): Kevin Baker
Paradise Alley is the story of three Irish immigrant women who are trapped together in the midst of events that would come to be known as the Draft Riots ? perhaps the bloodiest, most destructive riots in American history. The three women at the center of the story are Ruth, a survivor of the terrible Irish famine, married to a black man and trying to shield herself and her children from the return of an abusive former lover. Deirdre, the embodiment of upwardly-mobile ?lace-curtain-Irish? respectability, desperate for news of her husband Tom, who lies wounded on the field of Gettysburg. And Maddy, a hard-living prostitute, rejecting the patronage of the cynical journalist who took her off the streets, yet recklessly endangering herself and those around her with the life she chooses.Paradise Alley is a searing, historical epic, sweeping from the starving villages of Ireland to riotous streets of New York City and the battlefields of Virginia. It is a story of the Irish immigrant experience ? and the African-American experience ? in the crucible of nineteenth-century New York. It is a story of race and hatred, of love and sacrifice; of fire and war, risk and dauntless courage.