The Button Man is an historical family saga set in the lower east side of New York City during the 20's and 30's. It's a story of the Rabishevsky brothers, (Morris, Sol and Harry) and how they learned a new trade to help support their family. They became garment workers but had to fight the Italian mob who forced them to pay high union fees and only buy their materials from certain vendors. Add to this the corrupt police and you have a plot that moves quickly and painfully for the Rabishevsky family. The characters are very realistic as the story is based on the author's grandfather's story and is essentially a good vs. evil tale that Andrew Gross is well adept at telling. I have read some of Gross' thrillers but I like his historical novels the best. This is one that will live in your memory long after you turn the last page. I would highly recommend it to those who like to read about New York and the Italian mob. I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book for an honest review.
This is a true story based on the author's grandfather settling in Lower East Side NY with their large family. After the death of their father, 12 year old Morris becomes an apprentice in a clothing factory, brother Sol eventually becomes an accountant and Harry makes friends with the Jewish mob.
The story continues as the Jewish, Irish and Italian gansters control the unions, families disrupted, men killed or maimed and those who weren't lost their businesses. Men like Morris never gave in and after loosing everything made his,way back and became famous in the garment trade.
Excellent writing, so sad at times but a book that shouldn't be missed.
Although I adored Gross's two prior thrillers, this one did not grab me. The characters didn't feel real to me and there didn't seem to be enough at stake to keep me reading.