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Word Count: 537
a world filled with uncertaintyand when has it ever been otherwisethere is one thing of which you can be sure You can never have enough books So one Saturday afternoon soon after I moved to Austin I went trolling for answers in the history and travel sections of a second-hand bookstore where I found myself staring at two stacks of books slumped against a bin They were worn discarded copies of Out of This Furnace a three-generation family saga about immigrants from Eastern Europe and the steel mill towns outside Pittsburgh The novel by Thomas Bell begins with George Kracha a hapless young man who in the 1880s leaves his home in the easternmost corner of the Austro-Hungarian empire He arrives penniless in New York having frittered away his meager savings in an unsuccessful attempt to seduce an attractive dark-haired dark-eyed young married woman on the boat to the United States and walks from Manhattan to the rail yards of Pennsylvania where a job awaits him The next generation tries to do the right thingKrachas daughter marries a man who is so earnest so hardworking that his name Dobrejcak means good man But they are plagued by the bad luck that comes from back-breaking work in the mills and ghastly industrial accidents Because the author was something of an optimist as well as a champion of labor rights the third generation is the story of a triumphant unionization campaign along with all the ambiguities that come from acculturation As he slyly observes in an authors note Out of This Furnace was a thinly disguised version of his familys own history This book is a novel fiction andallowing for the obvious exceptionsthe proper names used in it do not refer to actual persons who may bear the same or similar names With that said this much more may be I have been as true to the events the people and the place as lay
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