MacDonald lost four of his siblings to violence and poverty. But too soon Southie becomes a place controlled by resident gangster Whitey Bulger, later revealed to be an FBI informant even as he ran the drug culture that Southie supposedly never had. It was a world primed for the escalation of class violence-and then, with deadly and sickening inevitability, of racial violence that swirled around forced busing. MacDonald, eight years old when the riots hit, gives an explosive account of the asphalt warfare. Therefore, I already had something wrong with me should I venture to Southie. They were dangerous kids and if one of them accused you of looking at any of them the wrong way, that was enough for a gang beating.
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MacDonald lost four of his siblings to violence and poverty. But too soon Southie becomes a place controlled by resident gangster Whitey Bulger, later revealed to be an FBI informant even as he ran the drug culture that Southie supposedly never had.
It was a world primed for the escalation of class violence-and then, with deadly and sickening inevitability, of racial violence that swirled around forced busing.
MacDonald, eight years old when the riots hit, gives an explosive account of the asphalt warfare. Therefore, I already had something wrong with me should I venture to Southie. They were dangerous kids and if one of them accused you of looking at any of them the wrong way, that was enough for a gang beating.
They were so full of anger and rage, and they could not ever form a sentence without using a slur of obsenities. I often wondered as a kid how these so called Irish Catholics could be so consumed with hate and venom not only against the rest of society, but towards each other as well. It never made sense to me. I did go to the apartment a couple of times and the atmosphere was exactly as he described it. I also spent a little time with Kathy after her accident.
A beautiful girl who loved to dance, now another statistic to the horrors of drugs. What might have been if she had grown up somewhere else is now just speculation. They were caught up in a world of out of control madness with devastating consequences. Mike did an excellent job telling the truth for the most part.
I recently drove through Patterson Way on a trip back home, and the sheer gloominess of the street is like a cemetary. It is so sad. For those of you who have read the book and might have wondered what happened to Nellie and her brood of fatherless children as Michael so eloquently pointed out, they all went on to further their educations and are responsible productive citizens.
Morals and values begin at home, and what is most crucial to raising children is a loving and stable home that in some cases only the mother can provide. You be the judge of what can and cannot be accomplished raising children alone when you have your priorities in order. Terrific book.. I hope everyone reads it! Michael MacDonald and Ma should be commended just for that courage, not even considering his literary talents. I strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone in our American society.
Whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. However, I can identify with and testify to the existence of "Southie Pride", and the insular nature of "The Town", that "us versus the rest of the world" mentality. Thanks to this wonderful book, the story is out there,and the healing process has begun.
I really hope all of America reads the book, especially those non-Southies who live in Boston and its environs. I guarantee you will all change your perspective of Southie afterwards. I would also recommend that "All Souls" be mandatory in the high school English courses of the Boston Public School system, as well as those across the country.
Michael MacDonald.. I just finished reading the book As an African-American woman four years older tham Michael, born in the same housing project as he I commend Mr. MacDonald for his poignant memoir. I grew up in Roslindale, at the time a predominately Irish-Catholic neighborhood, where I lived in fear of the "Southie" types. My family even experienced first-hand being chased out of Southie when I was a teen. My leaving Boston after high school was pretty much a reaction to the racism that permeated the city at that time.
It was refreshing to get insight to the "other side" through Mr. My heart does not bleed for his family or the people in the "best place in the world", but it does help me to understand the pathology that divide and conquer creates. And how when all is said and done and people have died It also has inspired me to tell my own story and look forward to more tales from Southie from this sensitive, daring writer.
Thanks for the insight and memories! He loses 4 siblings to crime or discrimination. This is NOTa depressing book. The family went out of their way to NOT look poor, to thepoint where they would buy shop-lifted designer clothes from a Southie"fence" so that they could look as fashionable as everyoneelse, despite the fact that their mother was a "career"welfare mom. Ifyou have one book to choose to give you a perspective on how the Irish"assimilated" to the Boston scene, choose this one.
Now we have it from an Irish American perspective. Poor people, regardless of race, are used, manipulated and pitted against each other to the advantage of those in power. Still, in communities crushed down by poverty, crime, corruption, alcohol and drug abuse, some people will not let humanity be crushed out of them.
As Viktor Frankel observed in the concentration camps some people will survive no matter how oppressive the conditions. I am glad Michael MacDonald survived to remind us of that fact again. This is a painful book to read. Thanks for writing this book Michael. I moved out of Southie in when the epidemic of suicides hit my neighborhood.
After losing countless friends to death and drugs I went to live with my godfather in Maine. It was tuff leaving Old Colony but I now know it saved my life.
I now live in Chicago. It was the only book I read in college. Growning up with an addicted mother in Old Colony I felt as if you dipped your pen into my soul and wrote down my life story.
I had an older brother that I never met who was violently taken. The way that you described your relationships with Kevin and Frank allowed me to process my own pain about my brother. After reading your book I was able to confront some of the issues of my childhood and bring to light some family secrets that needed to be adressed. I feel that I am a more complete person after reading your book and applying it to my own life and for that I can not express the graditude.
Also I really conected with Frank, in your family. In some similar ways that Frank was expressed. I found an outlet for the unresolved pain and anger of those situations.
In I started boxing as an amature. I always say a prayer to Frank before getting into the ring that Im able to fight with his heart and strength. If this is at all disrespectfull to your brothers memory I do appoligize, I fell that my heart is in the right place honoring your brother.
In 6 years of fighting amatures I have a record of and look towards making boxing my career. Thank you for the courage. By on Oct 23, just a few miles from South Boston, I found this book to be disturbingly authentic. Although I am a few years older than the author, I, too remember all too clearly forced bussing, only in my neighborhood bomb threats were made on the tunnels and bridges needed to get to any other part of Boston. I, too, marched and boycotted-not really understanding the issues.
His images of his childhood, with the kids belonging to all the mothers sitting on stoopes, in turn made me ache for the old days, when my friends and I were virtually carefree and then want to scream for how we were fooled into believing that there was nothing more important or interesting or certainly worth knowing outside of the few streets you knew by heart. However, all in all, I think this is an important book for anyone who grew up in Southie, Eastie, Dorchester etc you know who you are , if for no other reason than to validate the insanity we lived with on a daily basis.
Finally a story about Southie from Southie By Seano on Dec 09, Having grown up nearby, and having heard every "armchair analysis" of life in Southie, I was interested in learning more about the place.
What I did not expect was to become consumed with the drama, pride, sadness, tragedy and laughs that make the place so unique.
This book is a great voice from within the community and a healthy addition to all the other tomes of life during busing or the criticisms of the clannish Irish. All Souls stands on its own. It uses a brilliantly unique voice, with its own intention for the world.
Because this book, more than being about anything Irish, is about class in contemporary America. The book was gripping I wanted it to go on.. I love this book! But this summer, while back in Boston for a visit, something made me pick this book up and purchase it. I love his writing style, and really appreciate his honesty and his willingness to break through the neighborhood pressure to keep up that stifling code of silence about the real troubles in the area. Reading the defensive reviews of some of the South Boston natives reminds me of the same defensiveness that Black people sometimes put on, when they get angry with people who "air our family laundry" out in public.
This book was about the common humanity within everyone, no matter what the skin color. This is the inspiring essence that I took from this book; the reminder that, underneath all the appearances, we are all One, with similar desires, dreams, goals, aspirations. Some of us are born into comfortable circumstances, and some of us are not, but we can all learn from each other, if we are so inclined. Kudos to Michael MacDonald for writing this touching and bold book, and much gratitude to him, for making a positive difference in the world through all the amazing programs and work he is doing to help parents and kids of all colors.
By Denny Crane, Esq. The story starts out in the early s, roughly I lived in greater Boston at this time. I moved there for work, excited to move to a college town, in the state that voted for George McGovern. Unfortunately, Boston was not just a college town. I had the wrong accent, and in business there were many Bostonians who treated me as an outsider, not to be trusted.
All Souls: A Family Story from Southie
He makes mention of a serious criminal kingpin that was well known in the neighborhood named Whitey Bulger. MacDonald is the seventh child of nine, and his mother is Helen, whom he calls Ma. One brother died before MacDonald was born, and another was later diagnosed with schizophrenia after a life full of mental health issues. Their house is described to have a serious roach infestation. Irish Catholics in New England are also a historically oppressed class, and he describes some of the racism that the community suffered.
Michael Patrick MacDonald
All souls : a family story from Southie
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