Mary JL's Reviews > The Chains

The Chains by Gerald Green
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bookshelves: fiction-classics
Recommended for: Fans of historical fiction or history

This is an interesting historically novel, detailing three generations of the Chain family.

In 1910, the building containing the sweatshop where Jake Chain's wife works collapses. Several people are killed; Jake's wife Sarah is crippled. Jake, who was just a hired workman, suddenly becomes involved in the union movement. When the bosses hire roughnecks to intimidate the union, Jake fights force with force. He soon becomes a well known enforcer for the union. He soon finds he can make a lot of money in the enforcement business.

The second part of the book deals with Jake's only son, Morty. He becomes a bootlegger, and makes an immense forturne doing so. The amount of money that could be made in bootlegging astounded me. Prohibition was very unsuccessful; as many officals saw nothing wrong with illegal liquor and were easily bribed to look the other way when illegal booze was trucked in.

The third section of the book deals with Morty's son, Martin. When it became fairly obvious that Prohibition was to be repealed, Morty went into legitimate business--real esate; trucking; pharmaceuticals and so on. Marin has an excellent head for business, and become a powerful business typcoon.

There is a lot of action and suspense in the novel. Also, lots of interesting characters surrounding the Chain family and the historical details are well done.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction or multi-generation family sagas. It would be of special interest to those interested in the years between 1910 and 1960. There is enough historical detail to make it of interest to fans of regular history as well.
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Reading Progress

August 13, 2010 – Started Reading
August 13, 2010 – Shelved
August 13, 2010 –
page 21
August 13, 2010 –
page 56
August 15, 2010 –
page 98
August 16, 2010 –
page 210
August 17, 2010 –
page 272
August 18, 2010 –
page 368
August 22, 2010 – Shelved as: fiction-classics
August 22, 2010 – Finished Reading

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BLRBrazil Just to correct a detail, Mary - Mort was Jake's only 'legitimate' son, but he also had a son with "Tommy".

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