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Billy Gogan, American

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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Billy Gogan story is a fictional memoir told by an old Army general of his adventures as a young man. Billy Gogan, American, opens with recently orphaned Billy Gogan fleeing Ireland on the eve of the Great Hunger — either because he is the son of a dangerous revolutionary, or because his cousin doesn't trust him around his daughter. Billy and his traveling companions, ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Travelers' Tales/Solas House
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Pat Higgins
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Billy Gogan is a great story about the emigartion of young man from Ireland. The story follows him on great adventures through the five points of america, the mexican war and so much more. It's a very entertaining adventure.
Grady
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“You heard me, Gogan. Your father has betrayed all true Irishmen.”

Born in Cheshire County, England author Roger Higgins emigrated with his family to the United States when he was 6 years old, schooled here, and joined the US Navy to became an officer aboard a guided-missile destroyer in the Pacific fleet and later as fire control officer for the USS Missouri’s 16 inch guns. On retiring from the Navy, Roger became a lawyer working first as a clerk for a Tax Court and later as a partner in a law f
...more
Stephanie H.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Billy Gogan, American by Roger Higgins is a gripping story that perfectly mixes together history, mystery, and the human element for a new look at Irish immigration in the 1800s. Of course, this isn’t your average immigration story, either. Billy Gogan has an even bigger boatload of trouble waiting for him in America than the average immigrant of this time, and that’s saying something for a nineteenth-century Irishman.

Billy Gogan has fallen from grace in the eyes of his fellow Irishmen. Partly h
...more
Susan Keefe
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Billy Gogan’s epic adventure begins as he leaves Ireland for a new life in America…

Lose yourself in the pages of this exciting historical novel as you follow the adventures of Billy Gogan, an Irish orphan sent to America on the eve of the 1844 Irish Famine. Discover the dangers he faces as he lives by his wits, and does what he has to, to survive….

The author of this exciting adventure story, Roger Higgins was born in Cheshire, England, and he emigrated to America with his parents and younger br
...more
John J.
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In “Billy Gogan: American,” author Roger Higgins has created a sweeping epic saga of one Irish immigrants passage both across the Atlantic Ocean to a new land and his coming of age from boy to man. Orphaned at the young age of 15 and cast out of his family, Billy Gogan is left to make a new life. It is in the telling that Billy’s true self is revealed along with his ability to assimilate. The novel is so well researched that it reads most of the time more like a journal, diary or memoir. And it ...more
Pamela Gossiaux
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Adventure and Love Warm Tale of Early Irish Immigration to America

Travel into the world of Irish immigration, starting as Billy Gogan is fleeing from the oppression of the violence in Ireland and his own father’s death. Dangers lurk everywhere, from the ship that crosses the Atlantic, to the Five Points slums he moves into when he reaches the city of Gotham (New York) in 1844. Complete with Irish brogue, Billy Gogan, American is a masterfully written historical novel that will thrill historians
...more
Asher
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Billy Gogan, American by Roger Higgins is the fictional tale of a young man's transition from a life in Ireland to his settlement in the United States. It begins with Gogan's Irish backstory at the onset of the country's potato famine, where Billy is prompted to leave under multifarious circumstances. The passage is brutal but he survives (whereas his companion Father O’Muirhily does not) with the friendship of Maire and Fiona. All three make it to New York but its only Billy who emerges unscath ...more
Ted Quisenberry
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a big fan... I did enjoy the story beginning with Billy's life in Ireland at the private school and his troubles stemming with his fathers association with O'Connell. From the time he boards the Mariann bound for America things take place that are hard to follow but you keep reading assuming the picture will clear up. It really doesn't and leaves too many unanswered questions from the man in the funeral suit to the big questions about the last fateful day and why events are blamed on blamed ...more
Frank
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this story of a young man's escape from Ireland and the trials in his first year in New York.
Wonderful descriptions of the Five Points section of NYC, the grit and the political machinations of it all.
Kathy Heare Watts
I won a signed copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it a local library.
Christine
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book. Love the history and the real life characters. Hard to put down. I was however, shocked to discover that this is Book one and Billy 's saga continues in a second volume!!
Heather
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I came to this one not knowing quite what to expect, honestly thinking of the Five Points of Gangs of New York fame - which was the extent of my knowledge of the period. It delivered a much better look at the Five Points and so much more. The novel takes young Billy Gogan from a respectable upbringing in a respectable school from a respectable family to a lone fifteen year old boy shipped to America to make his way in the world on his own. He has to grow up fast, but Billy becomes the little bro ...more
Elizabeth
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually a big fan of historical fiction, but I really enjoyed Billy Gogan: American. This story is about Billy, a teenage boy at a posh school in Dublin whose life turns completely upside-down after his Republican (pro-independence, not GOP) father dies under mysterious circumstances. Billy is forced to leave Ireland and fend for himself in the New World, where he encounters a wild cast of characters in Lower Manhattan. Higgins did a tremendous amount of research about life in Ireland in ...more
Gary Buslik
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Higgins is a bare-knuckled story teller. In this brawny novel, he transports us to the hardscrabble lives of mid-1800s New York Irish immigrants. Though each day brings a new brawl for survival, under Higgins's deft touch, the heartbeat of tenderness, love, and even racial enlightenment pulses through "Gotham's" brutal veins. Higgins writes with a masterful sense of place. His argot and descriptions are so spot-on, you need to close the book and look around your own room to remind yourself that ...more
Amanda
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and it was much appreciated.

I love tales of adventure! This book combines adventure with just enough of a human personality. (I don't like action movies that add in pointless love stories.) You feel for the characters, but you don't get those wasted emotions. It combines a little history with a lot of trials and tribulations and tells the story of a young man's journey to America and adulthood.
Zibba
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was such a delightful read. It full of beautiful writing and great character development. I cannot wait for the next installment and urge as many people to read this story. It was a page-turner and read similarly to Erik Larson's strong historically accurate researched novels, like that of "The Devil in the White City" and "Dead Wake." I can easily see this book making it to the big screen! Loved it!!!!!!
Cecile
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
To those who love rich descriptive writing coupled with adventure and American history this is the book to read. You actually feel that you are standing next to the character (Billy) or at the very least are in the same room with him. Great story, a tribute to those first arrivals to America. Shows the true grit and spirit of our early immigrants and what it took for them to survive.
Laura
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I was really disappointed to get to the end of this story, only to find out that you must read a sequel to find out what happens next! :-(
Sweet Mama
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