As the Civil War
rages, another battle breaks out behind the lines.
During a long hot July in
1863, the worst race riots the United States has ever seen erupt in New York
City. Earlier that year, desperate for more Union soldiers, President Abraham
Lincoln instituted a draft—a draft that would allow the wealthy to escape serving
in the army by paying a $300 waiver, more than a year’s income for the recent
immigrant Irish. And on July 11, as the first drawing takes place in Lower
Manhattan, the city of New York explodes in rage and fire. Stores are looted;
buildings, including the Colored Foundling Home, are burned down; and black
Americans are attacked, beaten, and murdered. The police cannot hold out
against the rioters, and finally, battle-hardened soldiers are ordered back
from the fields of Gettysburg to put down the insurrection, which they do—brutally.
Fifteen-year-old Claire, the
beloved daughter of a black father and Irish mother, finds herself torn between
the two warring sides. Faced with the breakdown of the city—the home—she has
loved, Claire must discover the strength and resilience to address the new
world in which she finds herself, and to begin the hard journey of remaking herself
and her identity.
Addressing such issues as
race, bigotry, and class head-on, Walter Dean Myers has written another
stirring and exciting novel that will shake up assumptions, and lift the spirit. Download and start listening now!