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Extended Audio Sample Dreamland, by Kevin Baker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (776 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kevin Baker Narrator: John Rubinstein Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The City of Fire Trilogy Release Date:
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It’s 1909, and from the decks of the steamship bringing Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to America for a lecture tour, hundreds of European immigrants are straining for a glimpse of shore. The first thing they see in the night sky is a small light on the horizon that grows more fiery as they approach land. Soon it appears that all of New York is being consumed by flames.

As they draw closer, their alarm turns to relief and then amazement. This first searing image of the New World is not of a city on fire, but of the million electric lights of Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement park, a sight so spectacular and unearthly that they think they can only be passing through the gates of heaven or hell.

From the decks of one of these ships comes a young Eastern European stowaway whose survival instincts fit seamlessly with the needs of a small-time gangster on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As he rises within the organization, he meets and falls in love with the daughter of a rabbi, a young woman working in the Triangle Building sweatshops. Their lives intersect with organizers in the nascent labor union movement and a high-ranking politician neck-deep in Tammany Hall corruption, leading to a magnificent and explosive conclusion back on Coney Island.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A wild amusement park ride…Historical fiction at its most entertaining.” 

    New York Times

  • Dreamland is terrific fun.” 

    New York Times Book Review 

  • “An epic recreation of an era…A boisterous, rollicking carnival.”


  • “A Dickensian epic…Meticulously researched and filled with passages of intoxicating, dreamlike frenzy.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Large, knowing, teeming with ambition and personality.” 

    Gentlemen’s Quarterly 

  • “Compelling…Dreamland is a wild ride…Paced like a police thriller.” 

    USA Today

  • “Remarkable…Original…Mingles real and fictional characters in an American fin-de-siecle swirl.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • “This is literature and history at its finest.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Mesmerizing…Dreamland tells us a great deal about what it means to be American.”

    Washington Post

  • “A sexy, dreamy romance.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Brilliantly imagined and assiduously researched.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “At once instructive and great good fun to read. A high-spirited and knowing saga of...an extravagant and surreal age.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “This novel entertains us, and it also makes us think.” 

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A populist masterpiece.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Masterful and moving, this novel can transform a reader’s relationship with our history.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A New York Times Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ruth | 2/11/2014

    " Another instance where choosing a random book at the library paid off! I have recently watched PBS' documentary on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and it was fascinating to read a fictional account of a young Jewish girl's experiences working there. Her story is interwoven with several others in New York City shortly after the turn of the century and I was quickly sucked into the book. The only storyline that I just didn't get and didn't understand it's relevance was that of Freud & Co.'s visit to New York. There is also a glossary of Yiddish/Irish/turn-of-the-century gang speak that I didn't know was there until I was half-way through - it was really helpful and I wish I had realized it from the beginning. That aside, this was a really good read and apparently it is part of a trilogy, so I will shortly be seeking out the second installment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brian Wagner | 2/7/2014

    " Favorite book of the year. I love the mix on real history with a fictional story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kristin | 2/2/2014

    " my least favorite of the nyc trilogy-this one taking place during the turn of the century and focusing in on the iconic Coney Island--freak shows, roller coasters, and more! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Susan | 2/1/2014

    " I am also still reading this one... about halfway through. This paperback made my tactile test. Paper, flexibility, fonts-wise. Oh and it's a pretty great read too. "

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