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Haymarket: A Novel

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  79 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
On the night of May 4, 1886, during a peaceful demonstration of labor activists in Haymarket Square in Chicago, a dynamite bomb was thrown into the ranks of police -trying to disperse the crowd. The officers immediately opened fire, killing a number of protestors and wounding some two hundred others.

Albert Parsons was the best-known of those hanged; Haymarket is his story
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by Seven Stories Press (first published February 1st 2003)
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Alicia Mendoza
I read this book for one of my grad classes. It does start off slow, but builds up speed. Albert and Lucy Parsons along with a handful of friends they meet along the way are speaking out against the harsh labor conditions of the Chicago working class in the late 1800s. Much of the novel centers around the events leading up to the Haymarket bombing and massacre. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into detail of who is accused of the bombing and what becomes of them. There are journal entries and lette ...more
Nov 18, 2009 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is historical fiction; the book is divided into 8 parts. The author had to choose this genre, because there is so little primary record/surviving evidence about the lives of the main characters.
This book did not draw me in until the latter portion. The first part is highly fictionalized whereas the last parts can rely on court records, newspapers, and other official documents---making it more interesting and real for me.

I did, however, learn a lot from this book:
#1 The freedoms, rights, an
Jun 29, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duberman is a renowned historian, and a very fluent writer to boot. I wanted to see how he used this historic event, and the real people involved in it -- including the two central characters, Lucy and Albert Parsons, as a novel. He used lots of archival material, newspaper accounts and even biographies of the principals -- and yet this is fiction. Can you tell a deeper truth that way? Can we learn more about what was on their minds? At first, I didn't think he got the right balance -- too much ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good story which documents the labor movement in Chicago in the latter stages of the 19th and provides a good perspective on the background/life of many of the major characters who played lead roles in the struggle between labor and management.
Jerry Peace
Feb 24, 2016 Jerry Peace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1886 in Chicago, arrogant wealth equaled corrupt power equaled self-righteous, statist violence equaled law as another marketable commodity. Sound familiar?
Apr 16, 2011 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history
A historical fictionalization of some of the events and characters in the Haymarket Massacre by an eminent historian. As you might expect, the history is generally strong and conveys the overall flavor of the times and movement. Unfortunately, the dialogue is mostly a wooden catastrophe and the characterizations basically straight from central casting. It's a bit painful to read. It did seem to end somewhat more strongly than it begins, from a writing standpoint. I did finish it though, so engro ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Shawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected. I had thought this would be more of a historical piece of fiction but it was a historical novel about the lives of Albert and Lucy Parsons and how they were involved in the labor movement.
Oct 30, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent historical fiction book. I had never heard of the Haymarket riots before. It's very interesting how corrupt Chicago (and IL) politics were in the 1880's, and how things haven't changed a whole lot. I was very sad at the end of the book, mainly because this really happened, and I can see similar situations happening today. The main characters were fighting for employee workplace rights and the 8 hour workday, and it took until 1937 for this law to be passed.
Jun 14, 2009 TJ rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Was looking for a history of the Haymarket, but it's a novel. It's a good story, a good insight into the social situation and personalities of the time.
Caesar Warrington
It's obvious how much research Duberman put into Haymarket; I only wish he'd made an equal effort with the plot and character development.
Angie Mima
Nice fiction/non-fiction mix n mash. Claims to be a love story too, but that's a bit of a stretch...
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Martin Bauml Duberman is a scholar and playwright. He graduated from Yale in 1952 and earned a Ph.D. in American history from Harvard in 1957. Duberman left his tenured position at Princeton University in 1971 to become Distinguished Professor of History at Lehman College in New York City.
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