Extended Audio Sample

Download Paradise Alley: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Paradise Alley: A Novel Audiobook, by Kevin Baker Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (682 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kevin Baker Narrator: Kevin Baker Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The City of Fire Trilogy Release Date: April 2006 ISBN: 9780060889326
Regular Price: $40.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $25.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

At the height of the Civil War, word spreads through the poorest quarters of New York City that a military draft is about to be implemented -- a draft from which any rich man's son can buy an exemption. The outrage this inspires escalates into the worst urban conflagration in American history.

Down in the waterfront slum of Paradise Alley, three women -- Deirdre Dolan O'Kane, Ruth Dove, and Maddy Boyle -- struggle with their private fears as they wait for the storm to descend upon them. Deirdre, devastated by the news that her husband, Tom, has been wounded in Gettysburg, must turn for comfort and aid to two women she has always judged as morally depraved -- Ruth, married to an ex-slave, and Maddy, a hard-living prostitute.

Download and start listening now!

BK_HARP_001243

Quotes & Awards

  • “A gripping saga of New York at war—with the Confederacy and with itself—climaxing in the torrential Draft Riots that roar through the city’s streets, sweeping the brilliantly realized characters to their respective destinies.”

    Mike Wallace, Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

  • “Rich in color and drama...Extraordinary...A triumph.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Extraordinary...Baker achieves a hallucinatory realism packed with sensory detail, demonstrating why historical fiction is able to trump conventional historiography.” 

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “An engrossing epic.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “One of the best books of 2002.”

    Boston Globe

  • “What makes Paradise Alley a most worthy read is the author’s inestimable talent for breathing life into the people who inhabit his world. It is in coming to know and care about these characters’ lives and their futures that makes this novel a rare and special work.” 

    Denver Post

  • “A page-turning epic.”

    New York Post

  • “Inspired...Vividly entertaining, and its themes are as timely as any drawn from this morning’s newspaper.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “[A] huge success...Fascinating, instructive, never pedantic.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Phenomenal.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “Brilliant.”

    Hartford Courant

  • “Baker is a master...Paradise Alley probes the primal mystery of those opposite poles, love and war, with skill, drama, and deep humanity.”

    Edmonton Journal

  • “The combination of momentous events, tellingly real aspects of lower-class 19th-century life, and raw emotions like fear and pride make this a viscerally affecting story.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] richly detailed, impeccably researched drama.”

    Booklist

  • “Deftly plotted, fabulously detailed, and never less than absorbing. An authoritative blend of documentary realism and driving narrative that’s just about irresistible.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “With Paradise Alley, Kevin Baker emerges as our finest historical novelist, illuminating a critical and unexplored moment of the Civil War with compassion and vitality...Baker’s novel of immigration, slavery, rage, and rebellion miraculously captures not just the essence of our nation’s past but of where we stand today. Paradise Alley is a powerful and unforgettable book.”

    Peter Nichols, author of Evolution’s Captain

  • Paradise Alley is a powerful book that eschews what’s trendy for the old-fashioned literary pleasures: rigorous storytelling, deeply felt observation, and a judicious use of the bombshell surprise. Do yourself a favor and read it.” 

    Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and The Real McCoy

  • Winner of the 2003 James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Novel
  • Winner of the American Book Award for Fiction
  • One of the 2002 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie starr | 2/15/2014

    " epic. historical fiction takes place in nyc during the civil war. fascinating, page turner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Stadum | 2/11/2014

    " A compelling work of historical fiction, painting a riveting tale of New York City during the Civil War. The perspective of the Irish immigrant, the runaway slave and a city and nation in turmoil, telling the story of the New York City Draft Riots in a manner I had not been exposed to previously. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alicia | 2/1/2014

    " Intense novel about NY history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abby | 1/23/2014

    " Amazing! A great read, based on real life events. I'm amazed at how much research the author did to write this. Also, it depicts life in the mid 19th century in NYC, Civil War, slavery, race riots, the Irish Famine, etc. so vividly. Loved it, but thought the last chapter could have been more powerful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leah | 1/18/2014

    " Interesting to read because it takes place in NYC in the late 1800s during the Civil War..a lot of scenes reminiscent of the movie, Gangs of New York. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzieg | 1/18/2014

    " Great book. I learned something--draft riots in NYC "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelley | 1/1/2014

    " I loved this book ... It was historically accurate and I fell in love with many characters. I would recommend this book to everyone. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurelyn | 12/26/2013

    " Well written and excellently researched, I nonetheless had difficulty getting into the book. The backstories of each character developed them, but I had trouble until the end caring about the current events. A depressing but fascinating look into a difficult time in our nation's history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris Johnson | 10/5/2013

    " Follows a group of New Yorkers leading up to and during the Draft Riots of the 1830s. Scary depictions of how mobs form and what happens once they do... not pretty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacy | 9/5/2013

    " A wrenching description of the New York Draft riots during the civil war. His description of both the Potato Famine and the mob progression (especially the lynchings) were difficult to read. Shocking but worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 8/15/2013

    " fantastic historical fiction on the draft riots "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nan | 6/3/2013

    " I really liked this historical novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara | 8/21/2012

    " Interesting historical fiction piece. You need to stick to it because the end is really good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darcy | 2/19/2011

    " One of my very favorite books! Historical fiction at its best! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kris | 1/11/2011

    " This is a really good historical novel about the riots in New York in 1863. I bought the book from a used book site and it was really good. It deals with race issues and Irish immigrants. I was very impressed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gwen Botkin | 1/13/2010

    " Great little history lesson. I love books about people worse off than me. It is uplifting and depressing at the same time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim Kahne | 6/4/2009

    " Loved this book- sorta like Gangs of New York. I adore historical fiction about New York City- let me know if anyone has any good recommendations for me! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 4/23/2009

    " i love the fact that Kevin Baker uses actually historical characters and events and creates these great stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 11/5/2007

    " I don't ever admit to being drawn to historical fiction...instead, I simply admit to liking good stories, better story tellers. So forgive me my T C Boyle...and this book....but this is one helluva book. I wept for the final 30 pages and I. Do. Not. Cry. Masterful story-telling broke me though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 12/12/2006

    " This was a Today show recommmend - really liked it. Reminded me of the movie Gangs of New York alot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helen | 11/6/2006

    " Deja vu all the way along. I swear I may have read this already. Ugh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 9/11/2006

    " An interesting view of the fire department of NYC long before they became the heroes of 9/11. Who would think putting out fires could be a brutal competition? "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Kevin Baker is the bestselling author of the novels Dreamland, Paradise Alley, and Sometimes You See It Coming. He is a columnist for American Heritage magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times, Harper’s, and other periodicals. He lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Ellen Abrams, and their cat, Stella.