|“What a great book!” - Jennifer P. Senior Manager, HISTORY/A+E Networks|
A BLAZING GILDED AGE by Rich DiSilvio
While John Jakes has written a memorable saga about the Civil War with "North & South" or F. Scott Fitzgerald about the Roaring Twenties with "The Great Gatsby", no author has written a standout novel about the Gilded Age—until now!
A Blazing Gilded Age is the epic story of a volatile nation burning with ambition, yet bleeding with injustice. It was a time of profound change; boldly transforming from an agrarian backwater into an industrial powerhouse.
Center stage is the Wozniak family; poor coal-miners living in Pittsburgh who are struggling to achieve the elusive American dream. Suffering a string of calamities at the hands of their ruthless and depraved boss, Archibald Desmond Huxley, the Wozniaks are thrust into utter turmoil, thus igniting a blazing journey of revenge, justice, and survival.
During the Wozniaks’ quest they encounter many icons, including Teddy Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, Albert Bierstadt, Presidents Garfield, McKinley, Grant and Arthur, Susan B. Anthony, Buffalo Bill and many others, thus painting a broad and vivid canvas of 19th century America. Springing to life, these legendary figures and historic events accurately depict an era boiling with bravado yet blistering with blunders, as astounding innovation and progress coincides with corporate greed, class warfare, and political corruption. After many unexpected twists of fate (some fortuitous and others heartbreaking) the Wozniaks emerge victorious, thus finally achieving the American dream, yet not without scars.
Both powerful and poignant, A Blazing Gilded Age serves as an entertaining and enlightening read of how and why America has gone astray, and why it became a world leader. While at its core, it imparts the harrowing, yet triumphant, tale of a family's struggle to survive in an age that, in many ways, was as dark and rough as coal and at times could be as blazing as Hell.
A Blazing Gilded Age: Episodes of an American Family and a Volatile Era
$34.95 - On Sale $29.00 Autographed!
$18.95 - On Sale ONLY $14.99 Autographed! Act now, limited time only!
Kindle edition available at Amazon:
Roger Di Silverstro, noted biographer of Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands, said, regarding TR: “You captured the spirit of the man...which means he is effectively covered here!”
I laughed, I cried, I held my breath with an open mouth. What a great story, keeping me on the edge of my seat.
-- Mary Yode
A Magnificent Epic Novel
Rich DiSilvio, a man as committed to music, art, philosophy and sociology as informed by the fine arts, takes this period of history with all of the fascinating changes, discoveries, triumphs and failures and by introducing fictional characters within the stage setting of this era makes it far more credible. We see so much better through the eyes of witnesses than through the most sophisticated lenses of modern technology. And in DiSilvio's handling of the parallel or concurrent unraveling of historical events with those of the Wozniak family he provides not only keen insight but also pauses for the inclusion of the arts, so often ignored by other historical novel writers.
His style is compelling, jolting in the manner in which he lays open old wounds of our making we had hoped would somehow heal without medicaments, and at the same time infuses a gentle tenderness in his depiction of the 'common man' so far below the gleam of the gilt of this gilded age. This is a magnificent epic novel, one that will be always with us—and hopefully in the classrooms of students who so desperately need to understand our true history.
-- Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewer
I enjoy books that combine real historical events with fiction and this one is the best! Very cleaver! I learned a great deal about our country's prominent citizens that lived during the industrial age. The fictional characters came to life so much so that I thought they really existed in our American history! Couldn't put the book down and can't wait to read more of Rich DiSilvio's books.
-- Doris Hobbs
This novel is terrific. I didn't want to put it down, but had to because it was so big! I absolutely love how the family's story is intertwined with historical events and people. Very entertaining and factual. I learned so much while I was reading this and it amazes me how much of history has repeated itself in this day and age. Our current leaders really could learn some lessons by looking back.
-- Debra S. McGuiness
Overall, I thought this book was extremely well written. The author obviously knew his subject matter and has conducted in-depth research about the era. The characters were fascinating, not only because of their diversity, but because of their drive and motivations. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction. -- Mary E. Young
AN EXCEPTIONALLY WRITTEN NOVEL THAT IS DEEPLY AFFECTING!
What a magnificent book!!! As soon as I started it, Rich DiSilvio's prose immediately grabbed me. The opening scene in the coal mine is so very touching and disturbing. When one thinks of the Gilded Age, one thinks of the Morgans or the Vanderbilts—yet this brilliantly written historical novel shows the other side—the millions of people—many of them children—who labored in horrific and dangerous situations, many dying, so that the Tycoons could live like Kings and the Industrial Revolution could transform America. I was greatly reminded of Upton Sinclair's immortal description of the slaughterhouse in “The Jungle” when Mr. DiSilvio wrote about the child workers in the coal mines—some as young as 9, working for pennies and dying due to the utter lack of humanity and concern of those who owned and benefited from the horrors and deaths of the many.
In a very real sense, Mr. DiSilvio shows in a truly brilliant manner, the "Rust"—human rust stained by blood—that was the real power behind the "Gilded" age. James Jones, who wrote “From Here to Eternity”, was an Army Grunt, and very much wanted his books to be from the perspective of those enlisted grunts like him, not the famed Generals who took credit and little personal risk. A Blazing Gilded Age is very much the same—the reader is exposed to those who do not have Libraries and Foundations named after them, yet played a far more vital role, and dangerous, deadly and fruitless role in the Industrial Revolution that made America the superpower it became. It is about time!
I also loved the fact that sprinkled throughout the novel are historic figures, Teddy Roosevelt, the above mentioned Huxley (more interested in building mansions then all the children who died in his unsafe coal mines, Mark Twain, James Garfield, Tesla etc. and many others. These figures burst to life thanks to the narrative skills of a terrific writer. A very important book to read.
-- Rick Friedman Founder
The James Mason Community Book Club
A BLAZING WINNER!
Thoroughly entertaining. The characters kept drawing me in to the point that I could not put this book down....actually finished it in six hours!!!
I loved how DiSilvio makes the reader not even realize that he is educating them on historical facts as he entertains us with a gripping fictional story filled with very real characters. My deep concern for the struggling Wozniak family had me at the edge of my seat, and many unexpected events occurred that either delighted or disturbed me, keeping me glued with anticipation as to what would happen next.
Meanwhile the villain, Archibald Huxley, is so real,complex and vile, that I wanted to smack him, or worse! I have to pick up his prior books asap! I loved this book! Highly recommended! A Blazing Winner!!!! -- Lola
This is Definitely a 5 Star Book!
It took quite some time... because I felt compelled to research a great deal of what the author had written. I did not do this because I didn’t believe in the historical aspects of this novel, I did so because there were obscure facts and conversations throughout the novel that I wanted to check for accuracy. I was determined to locate a flaw in the historical research; after all, the conversations held in this book were just simply too believable; but, I am happy to state, accurate.
The story begins with a poor Polish immigrant family, whose lives have been forever changed due to shoddy and inept safety measures in a Pennsylvania coal mine (late mid 1800’s) and leads the reader from that point in time through Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidency. It also takes the reader’s through the lives of four brothers, through disability and a family’s shame through a life filled with the bittersweet. It is an absolute awesome read and makes me desperate to get my hands on DiSilvio’s other novels. This is definitely a 5 star book! -- Linda Munro
An Enjoyable Read that Creatively Combines History with Drama!
Rich DiSilvio has written an entertaining story that blends historical facts with compelling personal drama and fiction.
- Mike A Spitzer
I ENJOYED THIS BOOK TREMENDOUSLY!
The main characters in DiSilvio's work are members of the Wozniak family. This Polish/Italian family is very much representative of the millions of immigrants who came to America with a burning desire to build a better life for themselves and for their children. In the process of seeking their fortunes in a new world, these immigrants would help their adopted country become the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the world.
Aside from a fast paced and thoroughly enjoyable drama, A Blazing Gilded Age offers its readers an abundance of American history that is sadly either brushed over, if not completely ignored, in today's school textbooks. DiSilvio gives us insight into such dramatic events as the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and the near assassination of Teddy Roosevelt. The Spanish American War and particularly, the Rough Riders charge of San Juan Hill, are told in a brilliant narrative style that will appeal to even those readers who claim history as their least favorite subject in school.
A Blazing Gilded Age brings to the forefront the social issues that plagued this era. These social issues were the byproducts of pure capitalism free from government regulation. The author does an admirable job of drawing parallels to today's world. Readers should have little trouble relating to many of the ills of the time, especially in light of the damage to our present day economy caused by giant corporations motivated solely by greed. DiSivio appropriately quotes Mark Twain: "Get Money, Get it quickly, Get it in abundance, Get it Dishonestly if you can, honestly if you must." The Gilded Age saw incredible fortunes made by corporate giants at the expense of worker safety, horrible working conditions, and child labor.
DiSilvio's story illustrates the struggle to correct these social injustices as well as the efforts of Progressive presidents like Roosevelt. A Blazing Gilded Age is a must-read for anyone with even a mild interest in American history but the story itself is so entertaining and exciting that everyone will enjoy it. Readers will connect with the story's well developed characters and they will walk away from this novel with a clear vision and understanding of this crucial era in the life of our country. I highly recommend A Blazing Gilded Age as a novel that provides readers with both entertainment and education in ample doses. -- Michael Gandolfo [History Teacher]
HISTORY WITH FEELINGS!
In this historical novel Rich DiSilvio traces an important era in our history through the experiences of a single family. In doing so he outlines many of the social, cultural, and political issues that highlighted late 19th Century America and, in many ways, continues today.
In an entertaining way Rich DiSilvio helps us get a personal view of the struggles and obstacles facing a family that was, unfortunately, typical of pre-progressive America. If you love a good story, and want some insight into this important era, I would highly reocmmend "A Blazing Gilded Age." -- Lee G.
Richard's third book is a historical novel that is "blazingly" interesting and skillfully enlightening. Due to DiSilvio's narrative skills…the reader is totally enmeshed into this gripping story. A must-read, reader friendly book. -- Peter Z