Venable Park

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Overview

Fans of the HBO Series Boardwalk Empire will find Venable Park an engaging journey to the same era, with the struggles of the times viewed through the eyes of a vastly different central character.
****
1920s Prohibition Baltimore is a place apart from the bright, gilded world of Gatsby; a place where ash and smoke darken midday skies.

Millworker Henry Dawson is a returned WWI vet, finding his tenuous path back...

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1936400294 VERY GOOD PAPERBACK WITH MINIMAL MARKINGS -- Cover may have light scuffing and/or edge-wear. Inside, minimal markings on endpapers - no markings found in text. WE ... SHIP DAILY! Read more Show Less

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Venable Park

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Overview

Fans of the HBO Series Boardwalk Empire will find Venable Park an engaging journey to the same era, with the struggles of the times viewed through the eyes of a vastly different central character.
****
1920s Prohibition Baltimore is a place apart from the bright, gilded world of Gatsby; a place where ash and smoke darken midday skies.

Millworker Henry Dawson is a returned WWI vet, finding his tenuous path back to civilian life after a harrowing tour of duty in France's Argonne Forest. Just as Dawson gradually gains his bearings, events at the football stadium rising from the grounds of the city's Venable Park threaten to send him spiraling back to the despair of the war.

Told from the perspective of Henry, Venable Park is a rare look at the Twenties as they were, weighted by the toils and lifted by the triumphs of common men.

"An excellent book...heartbreaking, but ultimately satisfying."
- WYPR - Baltimore's NPR Station

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Flynn's first novel takes place in 1920s Baltimore and features a perspective on this time period not often seen. No Roaring '20 here--this is the story of a common man, a soldier just back from World War I, who starts rebuilding his life from nothing through hard labor at a steel mill. Henry Dawson lives in a boardinghouse in near poverty and shovels coal onto a conveyor belt six days a week. He finds more work through a co-worker, whose father oversees the dirt works at Venable Park. Venable is a football stadium being constructed to draw big games to the city and upgrade its national image. The project needs men good with shovels, and it offers a chance for those with smarts and ambition to get a little ahead. Although a commoner, Henry is uncommon in his understanding of life's fundamentals, his acceptance of his fellows (during a time of institutionalized bigotry, he befriends and respects anyone who deserves it, regardless of race or position), and his willingness to conduct himself with integrity. He's also one of the few among his class who can read and write and has a lick of sense. These traits set him up to clash with liars, cheaters and bullies, all of whom occupy key positions at both the mill and the stadium. Although he never looks for trouble, it manages to find him, and though most of the time he's wise enough to walk away, sometimes he knows it's important to stand and fight. But he always pays for that integrity, whether by being terrorized in the war or losing his job. The author expertly balances Henry's unique account against a universal story through the voice of a memorable character. At the same time, he brings alive an era and place rarely combined in fiction. This book will satisfy folks who prefer literary novels with dark or tragic undertones. A simple, sad narrative of one good man's ongoing struggles.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936400294
  • Publisher: Mill City Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and The Denver Post, among others. He is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Venable Park is his second book.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 21, 2010

    a gem!

    this book met my two main criteria for a satisfying read: 1) i was hooked in the first few pages and 2) i cared enough about the main character that i was sad when my time with him ended. mostly i read memoirs these days because of i enjoy the immediacy and intimacy they offer. while venable park is fiction, it satisfies in the way that a good memoir does. and if that weren't enough, it also offers a glimpse of a bygone time and place which, regrettably, few writers of historical fiction have considered. i really felt transported. kudos to flynn for scratching so many itches with one little book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    Great fictional memoir!!

    Although Henry Dawson didn't exist, by the end of Venable Park, I wasn't so sure. A top-notch fictional memoir, VP's trustworthy characters sweat, struggle and do their best to thwart first the Kaiser, then daily troubles of the more common variety: menial jobs, prejudice and - during Prohibition - flowing booze. Nice transition to fiction for Flynn.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2012

    Passed this novel around to my book group pals, and everyone gav

    Passed this novel around to my book group pals, and everyone gave it a thumbs up. Thoughtful and easy to read; perfect for moms on the go.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    why don't more people know about this?

    The story is a funny paradox: both calm and calming in the telling, yet provocative in the ideas. I will buy the Nook version for my husband. I've passed along the paperback to several friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

    Nicely done

    I really enjoyed this book, especially the "voice" given to Henry by the author - it had an authentic quality.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Wonderful, surprising book

    Venable Park is a beautiful book. It is a vividly visual book--every time I opened the pages, I found myself transported into post-WWI Baltimore, seeing the world in which Flynn's fictional protagonist lived as though with my own eyes. And that character, Henry Dawson, snuck up on me. I cared about him before I realized I was even getting to know him, and as the book went along I felt I knew him well indeed. I was hooked long before I realized the book had some important things to say, which made it's messages all the more compelling. If you love historical fiction--and even if you don't--pick up this book.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    snow storm sanity saver

    Just read this gem during a storm. Passed it on to my teenage son. Loved it!

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