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The Immigrants (Lavette Family, #1)
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The Immigrants (Lavette Family #1)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  7,266 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews

A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city.

Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian fisherman, battles from the rubble of the San Francisco earthquake to build a fortune in the shipping industry. Rising to success through hard work and a loveless marriage to the daughter

Paperback, 474 pages
Published (first published 1977)
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Teri-k If you haven't realized it yet, you don't read the books on Goodreads, you read them someplace else - a real book, e-book, etc., and then record,…moreIf you haven't realized it yet, you don't read the books on Goodreads, you read them someplace else - a real book, e-book, etc., and then record, review and talk about them here. :)(less)

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tea Jovanović
May 06, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing
Ovo je sjajna porodična saga... Davno je objavljena u Hrvatskoj kao Doseljenici i Druga generacija, a zapravo postoje još 4 dela koji nikada nisu prevedeni... Osim što je Hauard Fast božanstven autor on je i plodan pisac... Ima šta da se čita kod njega... Ono što većina verovatno ne zna, on je bio svekar Erike Džong... :)
May 20, 2009 d'Ann rated it it was amazing
The Immigrants is the first in a series of six books by Howard Fast. I first read these books in the early 80's and devoured them as fast as I could. I remember being on the "waiting list" at my local public library. If you like reading about the same characters throughout several books, following along the family lineage, all the while surrounded in colorful historical fiction, then this series is for you.

It centers around immigrant life in America, much of it in San Francisco. There are Italia
Jun 25, 2011 Misfit rated it liked it
A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city.

Dan Lavette's parents immigrated to America and eventually made their way to San Francisco, and Dan learns to be a fisherman like his father - but when the great earthquake and fire hits in 1906 Dan is left orphaned and on his own. Not one to let anything get him down, he aims high and plans to get it all. Money. Ships. The richest and most beautif
May 23, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: read-on-kindle
For the most part, this book was an enjoyable read. The plot moves along at a snappy pace, and the characters are likable enough. But I didn't care for the ending, and I wished that the whole book had been a bit more focused. Dan Lavette is the protagonist, and yet Fast includes a large cast of supporting characters, and it never feels as if any of them have enough depth. I prefer my fiction to be more tightly focused on a few key characters. Similarly, I don't like it when a book of less than 5 ...more
May 20, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok
I would put this book in the category of a soap opera.
Nov 06, 2013 Samantha rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it, us-history, wwi
I had a basic 'meh' response to this book. Hoping for a John Jakes style epic, I was disappointed in the one-dimensional characters, skimming over of important historical events, and general blandness of this novel.

My favorite characters in this book were Joseph and Anna Lavette, who are the original immigrants that the story opens up with. However, they are not the central characters of the book. It is their son Daniel who the bulk of the novel centers upon. He is an uneducated, rough, outspoke
Jul 20, 2015 Ffiamma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, ebook
storia familiare avventurosa infarcita di stereotipi e banalità, in una san francisco dapprima sconvolta dal grande terremoto del 1906 e poi in piena ripresa. eventi importanti come la prima guerra mondiale e la grande depressione sono solo funzionali alle peripezie del protagonista daniel lavette- ambizioso figlio di un pescatore immigrato che arriverà a un successo impensabile per poi perdere tutto all'improvviso (ritrovando però la sua essenza e ricongiungendosi con il suo vero amore). l'unic ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Paula rated it really liked it
I like family sagas and this one was pretty good. It follows Dan Lavette as a young boy coming to America with his parents. They are so very poor and his Dad Joseph tries to find work. He is recruited to work for the railroad but has to move his family from New York to San Francisco. Joseph saves and is able to buy a fishing boat. He takes Dan with him and Dan learns to love it. One morning Dan gets up early to go to the boat. The 1906 earthquake hits and Dan's family is lost. The story continue ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
How have I not discovered Howard Fast before…especially with my love of family sagas?

“The Immigrants” (1977) sat untouched on my bookshelf until I decided to pick it up about a week ago. Turns out this is the first of six novels chronicling the development of America along with the Lavette family.

“The Immigrants” begins in 1888 with a French-Italian fisherman and his young Italian wife arriving in New York Harbor and takes readers through 1933.

The fisherman (Joesph Lavette) and his wife (Anna)
Ankit Agrawal
Jun 19, 2013 Ankit Agrawal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ankit by: Good Reads Recommendations
I wish I could give this book 5 stars, I really wish I could because I loved the story pretty much. The thing which kept me from giving it 5 stars was the quality of writing. I would have been unfair to some other books I have read had I given this book 5 stars. The thing I didn't like was the lack of focus of the characters. The characters were not properly built to feel or have emotions for them. I never felt sad for a particular character when something bad happened to them nor did I feel gla ...more
خواندن اثار هوارد فاست کمک می کند تا تاریخ آمریکا را به گونه ای دیگر، از درون آینه ی ادبیات بشناسیم. اگرچه نه به آن دقت و جزئیات که تاریخ یک قرن فرانسه را می شود از طریق خواندن آثار بالزاک شناخت، با این همه هوارد فاست یک آمریکایی ست که با همه ی دید انتقادی نسبت به فرهنگ و تاریخ ملتش، هم چنان دلسوز مردم و میهن خود باقی مانده است. مهاجران را باجلان فرخی ترجمه کرده و انتشارات اساطیر در 1371 منتشر کرده است. نسل دوم را به فارسی ندیده ام. با وجودی که در برابر دیگر آثار هوارد فاست آنچنان درخشش ندارد، ا ...more
Apr 20, 2011 Joan rated it it was amazing
I re-found Fast by the fortune of a free Kindle book. I loved this story of the Lavette family imigrated from Italy. Joseph was a fisherman. He and his wife Anna tried to make a life in America and to a large extent succeeded. The protoganist, Dan is the first born, who, without finishing high school joined his father as a simple fisherman and rose to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the country. It was a wonderful story, beautifully told. I was sorry when it ended.

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Mary Frances
Feb 15, 2014 Mary Frances rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and have made plans to read the next in the series. I had a few issues with it that make me choose a 4star rating rather than a 5. My primary gripe is that I think Fast brings a modern (as in mid-20th century) sensibility into it, and as a result characters make choices and act in ways I found a bit difficult to swallow for the time period. I actually could see one or even two of the men falling "in love" with someone other than their wife, and having an affair, but ...more
Gail Amendt
Jun 05, 2014 Gail Amendt rated it liked it
This is the fist book of a highly acclaimed series written in the late 1970's. I enjoy a good historical family saga and thought I would give it a try. While there are some good points to this rags to riches story set in San Francisco, it reads too much like a soap opera to suit me. The characters are stereotypical and unlikeable, much of the plot is implausible, and it seemed that everyone was cheating on their spouse. It reminded me a lot of the prime time soap operas about wealthy families th ...more
Trista Bordignon
Feb 17, 2016 Trista Bordignon rated it really liked it
I enjoy the Lavette family and the story of their lives. I also appreciate the history that is intertwined in the story.
Carolyn Pina
May 28, 2016 Carolyn Pina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is now one of my favorite books. I'm so very glad that I "found" it! It is brimming with lovable characters and history, too. I just loved it!
Nancy Stauffer
Feb 29, 2016 Nancy Stauffer rated it liked it
Good read...interesting how San Francisco & the USA grew in the early 1900's
Katherine Coble
Sep 25, 2011 Katherine Coble rated it it was ok
It had promise, in that I love family sagas and tales of building a new life in America. A good example of such a book is _Galway Bay_. Howard Fast's _The Immigrants_, on the other hand, is a bad example. A simplistic, unrealistic soap opera of a book with characters who are cardboard cutouts and suffer from unrealistic fates. It's less a novel and more a laundry list of sex partners, babies born in and out of wedlock, business deals and Schoolhouse Rock-style recounting of world events.
Dec 26, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
According to my Kindle, I am 32% of the way through this book! (I really wish I knew what that meant in terms of pages.... one of the downsides of the Kindle).

So far, I am really enjoying this book, it is a page turner (pixel turner??). I love immigrant stories in general.

I have finished this book and wow. Hard to put down. Spent much of a low-key lazy Christmas day reading it. This is rags-to-riches-and-back-again story-- fiction, but historically accurate to early 20th century San Fransisco.
Mar 16, 2013 Marcia rated it really liked it
This is a re-read for me - I enjoyed it coming back to see an old friend. Now I'm on to the next one in the series!
Oct 18, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing
A family saga set in San Francisco.
Daniel Currie
Feb 01, 2015 Daniel Currie rated it liked it
Recommended to Daniel by: Bonnie Drake
Almost completely plot driven, this is the story of a 'typical' immigrant family who arrive at Ellis Island in the late 1800's.

There were certainly some things I liked and didn't like about this book. The 'immigrants' themselves get killed off right away. The story then settles into their son and his rise thru the ranks of San Francisco life in the early 1900's. The story moves so swiftly there isn't a lot of time for character development and that is the main downfall of the book, in my opinion
Sep 12, 2009 Graceann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
The Lavette Family saga eventually took six books to tell, so The Immigrants has the feel of setting up the story for the directions in which it is to go. Beginning with Daniel Lavette's parents arriving at Ellis Island, we meet the patriarch of this fascinating family as he is born in a bucking boxcar on the way to the West. Five hundred pages later, we have gotten to know a rich tapestry of interesting characters, each with their own backstory, faults, foibles and virtues.

There were points whe
João Rui Freire
Apr 06, 2016 João Rui Freire rated it it was amazing
Howard Fast is an amazing storyteller! I find the begining paragrah of The Immigrants so powerful and mesmerizing!

The Lavette's story is engaging, it depicts very well the history of the 20th century in North America. The characters are complex, rich and real. Is language has a journalistic tone, it's very graphical and you easly picture people and events on your head.

You will definitely want to find the other volumes of the saga - there are 6 in total.
Peter T. Tomaras
Mar 24, 2016 Peter T. Tomaras rated it it was amazing
An unknown man who attended my reading of Innkeeper at the U of Illinois suggested I check out Howard Fast. Started with this goodness, absolutely terrific, hard to put down. Just bought the second in this series. The protagonist is the son of an Italian immigrant, I the son of a Greek immigrant. We're cousins. First book takes us through the 1906 SF earthquake, and into the Great Depression. Wonderful story teller, a saga that I wish to pursue.
May 23, 2016 Yves rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history
I read this captivating novel in record time, while "taking a break" between "The 42nd Parallel" and "1919", the first two volumes of John Dos Passos "USA Trilogy" that actually cover the same period. I tremendously enjoyed the journey alongside French-Italian American born Dan Lavette, and the other ethnically diverse protagonists who accompany the reader along the first three decades spannning pre-quake San Fran to the aftermath of the crash of '29. A highly recommended, easy read, for recent ...more
Jeannine Harbison
Aug 22, 2016 Jeannine Harbison rated it really liked it
Really 4.5 stars. This is my second reading of the 1990s best seller, now on Kindle. It holds up amazingly well - I was just as drawn in as I was 25 years ago. If you've read books of this type, you know what to expect. Easy reading, many engaging characters. The are five books in this series, I am going to read at least the next one, great summer reading.
Premanand Velu
Jul 11, 2016 Premanand Velu rated it it was amazing
“Moved by deep love, a man is courageous.
And with frugality, a man becomes generous.
And he who does not desire to be ahead of the world becomes the leader of the world.”

A very Eastern outlook alien to the typical western writes. This book of Howard fast, my first time read of his works has a gripping story line which is definitely fast and sticks hard. I am usually skeptical about fast American Saga. Starts as a usual Family, revenge and intrigue but then evolves into something very tender and
Pulls you in early

I am a fan of historical fiction, and really liked this book. The characters are well developed and I look forward to the rest of the series. I did read the kindle edition and found some typos that were distracting, but other than that a 5 star read.
Terri Hardy
May 31, 2010 Terri Hardy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved this book! Being the granddaughter of an Italian immigrant, I was awakened to the immense difficulties faced by those looking for a better life on these shores. And the fact that my daughter now lives in San Francisco on Russian Hill where much of the book takes place made it even more enjoyable. I loved the writing style, where the author jumps from one plot to the next every couple of pages so I was always engaged with all the characters, never bored. Although this book was ...more
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Howard Fast (1914–2003) was one of the most prolific American writers of the twentieth century. He was a bestselling author of more than eighty works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. The son of immigrants, Fast grew up in New York City and published his first novel upon finishing high school in 1933. In 1950, his refusal to provide the United States Congress with a list of possible ...more
More about Howard Fast...

Other Books in the Series

Lavette Family (6 books)
  • Second Generation (Lavette Family, #2)
  • The Establishment (Lavette Family, #3)
  • The Legacy (Lavette Family, #4)
  • The Immigrant's Daughter (Lavette Family, #5)
  • An Independent Woman (Lavette Family, #6)

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