A Blazing Gilded Age

A Blazing Gilded Age

Episodes of an American Family and a Volatile Era

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
508 Pages
Reviewed on 06/15/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Rich DiSilvio is an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. He has written articles on history, politics, art and music, which have appeared in magazines and is the author of several books.

Rich has worked on projects for historical documentaries, including Killing Hitler, James Cameron’s The Lost Tomb of Jesus, The War Zone series, Return to Kirkuk and Operation Valkyrie, as well as on cable TV shows, including Celebrity Mole, Blood Ties, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union, The Man Show and Monty Python: Almost the Truth.

For a full bio and portfolio, please visit: http://www.richdisilvio.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Patsy Glans for Readers' Favorite

In A Blazing Gilded Age, by Rich DiSilvio, readers are transported into the world of men who were ahead of their time in the 19th century. Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, Edison and Teddy Roosevelt were determined to make their mark on history and would lie, cheat, and even bribe politicians to make it happen. The people who worked hard, long hours for very little pay are the real heroes; they worked in coal mines, built the impressive buildings, and held down other jobs to support their families. Marc Wozniak, along with his father and brother, worked in one of the coal mines. There had been explosions due to faulty equipment and the lack of proper training, which led to his father dying in the mine. It would take Marc most of his life to bring down the major players and finally make conditions safer for the workers.

In A Blazing Gilded Age, Rich DiSilvio has written not only an entertaining story, but he has given readers an insight into history through his excellent research on the men of the 19th century. He brings to life the story of America through stories of those who helped build and define it. A Blazing Gilded Age brings to light all the struggles and victories of the workers who defined a generation. I learned a great deal from this well-researched, informative and entertaining book. I would recommend this book to all readers, especially teachers looking for an entertaining way for their students to explore a critical time in our history.

Michael Gandolfo

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.

Jack Iaci

Awesome book! R. DiSilvio writes a little like Alfred Hitchcock with twists and turns. I could not put down. An exciting mixture of history and fiction telling a story of a Polish/Italian family the Wozniaks' and their trials and tribulations of working for a controlling, ruthless, coal mine owner Archibald Huxley during the late 1880's through the turn of the twentieth century. Many historical characters are brought into the story including six presidents, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, McKinley and T. Roosevelt, plus other well known historical figures like J.P. Morgan, Nicolas Tesla, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, George Westinghouse, Aaron Montgomery Ward, etc. Rich DiSilvio has a great style of writing and adds suspense that captures the reader.

Ben Furman

A Blazing Gilded Age -- The TV Series?

A Blazing Gilded Age by Rich DiSilvio fits perfectly with the country’s renewed interest in its past. The popularity of movies such as Lincoln and TV series that deal with America’s fight for independence, WWII, the Manhattan Project is reflective of this thirst to connect with our past – to discern what it took for our ancestors to stack up nation’s building blocks.

Through the eyes of the Wozniak family that endures and overcomes both the physical and mental challenges of the of 19th century coal industry, DiSilvio allows us to see a part of “what it took” to accomplish this monumental task.

A keen director would find a gem in DiSilvio’s informative take on an extraordinary time that began the country’s trek to greatness, warts and all.

Steve Painter

Readers will not be disappointed in this epic and sweeping saga of historical fiction. It is set in the late nineteenth century, from 1870 to 1900, about the same time as the beginning to midway through the second industrial revolution.

The story centers around a family, the Wozniaks, who are a poor coal-mining family trying to achieve success in the fast-paced era in which they live. Their unbelievable struggles are revealed in the book, as well as our country's societal problems at the time. Many will find these issues familiar in our 21st century: Corporate greed, political corruption, and income inequality, to name a few. Here, you get a front-row seat on a thrilling ride through an exciting historical period that dealt with a good many of the issues we face today.

It's easy to find books on the wealthy of this age, but this effort by Rich DiSilvio goes beyond the glitz and glamour of the monied class to reveal the very real struggles that millions faced during this incredible period in history. Buy the book, get strapped in, and enjoy this epic journey into the past.

Rick Friedman

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, 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, and many dying so that the Tycoons could live like kings and the Industrial Revolution could transform America.

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 himself, 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 a 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, Mark Twain, James Garfield, Tesla and many others. These figures burst to life thanks to the narrative skills of a terrific writer. A very important book to read.

Linda Munro

This novel took quite some time, reading it amongst other books for a class I am taking, but this book took the longest 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 book 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 novel 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 1800s) and leads the reader from that point in time through Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidency.

It also takes the reader 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.