A Family Story from Southie
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About the author
Michael Patrick MacDonald helped launch Boston’s successful gun-buyback program and is founder of the South Boston Vigil Group. He has won the American Book Award, a New England Literary Lights Award, and the Myers Center Outstanding Book Award administered by the Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. His second book, the highly acclaimed memoir Easter Rising, was published in 2006, and will be available in paperback from Houghton Mifflin in March, 2008. He is currently writing the screenplay of All Souls for director Ron Shelton. MacDonald lives in Brooklyn.
A breakaway bestseller since its first printing, All Souls takes us deep into Michael Patrick MacDonald's Southie, the proudly insular neighborhood with the highest concentration of white poverty in America. Rocked by Whitey Bulger's crime schemes and busing riots, MacDonald's Southie is populated by sharply hewn characters like his Ma, a miniskirted, accordion-playing single mother who endures the deaths of four of her eleven children. Nearly suffocated by his grief and his community's code of silence, MacDonald tells his family story here with gritty but moving honesty.
; July 2010
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Title: All Souls
Author: Michael Patrick Macdonald
In the press
"[A] rare and compelling book . . . Highly passionate."
—Liam Ford, Chicago Tribune
"His anecdotes have the searing power of a redeemed sinner's fiery sermon. His swift, conversational style sweeps you into his anger and sorrow. He is a born rabble-rouser whose emotional power numbs the reader's reason."
—Charles Carberry, USA Today
"All Souls is a memoir filled with desperation and despair, but there is also hope in it . . . MacDonald's discovery of his vocation in neighborhood activism is a refreshing change from most memoirs, which so often . . . are largely concerned with describing an ascent to celebrityhood."
—Julian Moynahan, New York Review of Books
"Michael Patrick MacDonald takes us on a heartbreaking tour of his South Boston family."
—Frank McCourt, Irish America Magazine
"An incendiary, moving book that startles on nearly every page . . . MacDonald's nimble prose and detailed recall of grim times long past make for luminous reading; his hard-won conception of how ghettoized poverty spawns localized violence, and the dignity he brings to lives snuffed out in chaos, gives All Souls a moral urgency usually lacking in current memoir or crime prose. A remarkable work."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"All Souls leavens tragedy with dashes of humor but preserves the heartbreaking details."
—Brent Staples, New York Times Book Review
"If you were charmed by Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes but wished at times the author would have got out of the way of his own beguiling style, try All Souls: A Family Story from Southie, Michael Patrick MacDonald's guileless and powerful memoir of precarious life and early death in Boston's Irish ghetto."
—R. Z. Sheppard, Time
"A must read . . . All Souls is poised to become one of the most significant Irish American books of the era."
"MacDonald has a gift for narrative, an eye for social detail, and a voice of earned authenticity."
—Jack Beatty, Author of The Rascal