The City below
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With The City Below, James Carroll brings the Boston of his million-copy bestseller Mortal Friends up to the present day, spanning three generations, in his most compelling novel yet. Raised on family loyalty, the Doyle brothers are inseparable as boys, overlooking the city from their Irish turf in Charlestown. But as they come of age in the 1960s, each forges new alliances of ambition - and of the heart and mind. Bold beyond his years, Nick soon aligns himself with the Italian mobsters who rule the choice rackets of the city. Terry, deferring to his mother's dream of the priesthood, goes off to Boston College, where a black classmate opens his eyes to a wider world. But the brothers' fates are tangled at every turn. As he campaigns for JFK, as he lays his ordination on the line in a dubious act of protest, as he deals himself into the real estate boom transforming the city, Terry still cannot escape his streetwise brother, his bonds to 'the Town, ' and his own past. Boston becomes the crucible for their rivalry as each man struggles to bend the city to his will - and to break free of the blood tie still holding him captive. Seamlessly blending story and history, James Carroll gives us our own tumultuous era in this tale of family bonds and ethnic violence, vows and betrayals, and political intrigue in the inner sanctums of both church and state. The novel's central character is Boston itself, with its turf wars, its tragic racism, the glow of the Kennedy era and the horror of the busing crisis, the overnight fortunes of the eighties, and the enduring Last Hurrah of statehouse politics. Gritty, suspenseful, and moving, The City Below is yet another triumph for James Carroll, each ofwhose novels 'cuts closer to the heart of his own and the American experience' (Boston Globe).