Eleven denizens of Old Brooklyn gathered down at the Precinct to interrogate Sgt McCloskey and pop a few aspirins - who knew?
Dick Jensen: I actually enjoyed reading it although it was not great literature. I learned quite a bit about the history of medicine in this country. I thought the ending was totally unbelievable. B-
Tom G: I liked the dialogue; I've read most of the Jane Austen books, and she uses the formal dialogue of the time. Despite all the negative things that have been said about the book, i enjoyed reading ti. B
Jack F: Like the others, I appreciated the enlightened look at the Pharmacological industry. But there were too many typos; too many characters (46); too predictable and too contrived. C+
Keith: Too many terrible toos: too many characters, too many innocent children, and no one brought to justice. C-
Kenny G: I enjoyed this history more than my history class in the 8th grade. This was a page-turner. There were too many characters, and I didn't enjoy the ending. A worthwhile read for the history of the pharmaceutical companies. B
Bob Woods: I was underwhelmed. No driving plot mechanism; the dialogue was awkward. B
Ron B: At first, the dialogue bothered me, then I thought: "Ah! An historical piece!" I didn't know the history of Aspirin, Heroin, and the context of the times. Recommended not as great history. Overall, an interesting read. B+
Charlie: How to judge 'fun' fiction with fiction by Phillip Roth, Ian McEwan? So what is the criteria for 'fun' fiction - that you would give it to your wife? Yes, this passed that test, and it provides an escape for a couple of hours, so: B+
Rob E: "His hands were muscular; his fingernails were like Theodore Roosevelt's." - Say, what? And the ending: a real bodice ripper - but a grown man's novel. I struggled through it: B-
Bob Simon: I would go with Charlie and Tom: I found the book to be a page-turner and enjoyable: we had a cast of muckrakers, communists, anarchists. Plus interesting history, enjoyable dialogue, in fact, lots of wonderful dialogue. B+
For Classic novels of the time, we had two great writers: Charles Dickens and Mark Twain who were both social novelists. Then there were real muckrakers: Sinclair Lewis, exposing the ills of society. Interesting and well written. I read it quickly, in 3 to 4 days, not my usual 2 weeks.
Mike B: I imagined the author trying to work this 1899 time period in Brooklyn, his hometown: "Martha, look at these great ads from 1899, I can create a good page-turner around that. Let's see, all this patent medicine was still available when aspirin and heroin were being touted together. Oh, Dewey was in town? Oh, yes, a boat race to intercept Dewey's celebratory flotilla! Perfect! I can add an anarchist to blow up the sexy girlfriend just as our hero reaches her office! Yes! Yes!" No. C
for further study:
Adm. George Dewey, USNA '58, the one and only Admiral of the US Navy
The Mock Battle of Manilla
And then, just two days after Spain conceded the Philippines to the US, you'd never guess what started: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902
which included The Balangiga Massacre
With US support, the Philipines became a Commonwealth in 1935 and achieved full independence following WWII: July 4, 1946.
(historical contributions by Prof Bousek and Solicitor Simon)