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The Given Day


Danny Coughlin is Boston Police Department royalty and the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains. His beat is the ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Given Day

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  • Jun 24, 2011
    by BD0407


  • Terrific Read May 6, 2010
    by jrwaw

    Dramatic historical fiction using the Boston Police riots which involve all the characters, most of whom are members of an Irish family with a tradition of public service.

    Well written and gripping descriptions as well as painlessly transmitted information about Boston at that time of our country's history. Maybe a little over the top at times, but immensely satisfying overall.

  • earley unionization May 21, 2009
    by farsighted

    a good story about several characters of vastly different backgrounds at the same time in history.

  • Gritty excellence May 13, 2009
    by greebs

    Dennis Lehane is a very interesting writer -- he made his mark with gritty, edgy crime novels like A Drink Before The War and Gone Baby Gone, but showed his literary chops with the phenomenal Mystic River. He also penned Shutter Island which is more of a thriller, and I believe is being made into a feature film.

    But The Given Day bears little resemblance to any of those excellent books, except in the simple fact that it is incredibly good.

    Set in Boston just after the first World War, The Given Day follows a few key players - Aiden "Danny" Coughlin, a Boston cop trying to make his own mark in the shadow of his father Thomas; Luther Laurence, a black ("Negro" here) amateur baseball player who is forced to run away from his past, including his pregnant wife; and, of all people, Babe Ruth. The influenza pandemic has just swept through the country and Boston is being threatened by political terrorists, all while the police force tries to organize to get a respectable wage.

    If a book about unions, the development of the NAACP, Irish cops and race relations doesn't sound particularly compelling, then I haven't done a very good job writing about the book here. As the novel worms its way to the finish, the sense of foreboding, of knowing that the city is set to explode (and does) is truly gripping. The character development is such that it's hard to pull away from the book, and the conclusions feel real, unforced and satisfying.

    The Given Day is a phenomenal book. As I understand it, Martin Scorcese is making it into a movie, but I'd recommend reading the book on its own long before that shows up.

  • Dec 24, 2008
    by Francesca

    Yes, I would recommend it, and yes, it was very well written. There were some bald spots through which I had to push myself, and I felt that the Babe Ruth sections could sound a bit forced. But that may be because the very mention of Babe Ruth to a long term Red Sox fan is uncomfortable. Was he really that much of a slob?
    It's worth the journey to re-live the Boston police strike and the tensions of the era. And the characters, especially the black ones, are engaging and complex. No one is wholly good, and several are wholly bad. The villain turns out to be the social network of immigrants, wards, poverty, and social deprivation. This is how it was, and we don't want to forget.

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