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A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian fisherman, battles from the rubble of the San Francisco earthquake to build a fortune in the shipping industry. Rising to success through hard work and a loveless marriage to the daughter A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian fisherman, battles from the rubble of the San Francisco earthquake to build a fortune in the shipping industry. Rising to success through hard work and a loveless marriage to the daughter of the city's wealthiest family, he risks it all for the exotic beauty of a woman who shares his secret and scandalous passion. From Nob Hill to the harbor, San Francisco comes alive through three immigrant families -- Italian, Irish, and Chinese -- whose intertwining dreams are propelled by the emotional events of America's coming of age...


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A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian fisherman, battles from the rubble of the San Francisco earthquake to build a fortune in the shipping industry. Rising to success through hard work and a loveless marriage to the daughter A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian fisherman, battles from the rubble of the San Francisco earthquake to build a fortune in the shipping industry. Rising to success through hard work and a loveless marriage to the daughter of the city's wealthiest family, he risks it all for the exotic beauty of a woman who shares his secret and scandalous passion. From Nob Hill to the harbor, San Francisco comes alive through three immigrant families -- Italian, Irish, and Chinese -- whose intertwining dreams are propelled by the emotional events of America's coming of age...

30 review for The Immigrants

  1. 4 out of 5

    d'Ann

    The Immigrants is the first in a series of six books by Howard Fast. I first read these books in the early 80's and devoured them as fast as I could. I remember being on the "waiting list" at my local public library. If you like reading about the same characters throughout several books, following along the family lineage, all the while surrounded in colorful historical fiction, then this series is for you. It centers around immigrant life in America, much of it in San Francisco. There are Italia The Immigrants is the first in a series of six books by Howard Fast. I first read these books in the early 80's and devoured them as fast as I could. I remember being on the "waiting list" at my local public library. If you like reading about the same characters throughout several books, following along the family lineage, all the while surrounded in colorful historical fiction, then this series is for you. It centers around immigrant life in America, much of it in San Francisco. There are Italians and Jews, Chinese and others. All are immigrants, but the Chinese are treated the worst. The story follows the engaging story of the Lavette family, beginning with Dan, son of Italian immigrants. It goes through the McCarthy hearings of the 50's and beyond, taking you on a journey that will leave you begging for more. I've read the series at least three time, and eventually purchased all of them from used book stores to keep in my own library. About the Author: You can read all the usual things about Fast elsewhere. I found Fast to be a man of social justice and that is what drew me to his work. Another great series by Fast involves a character named Max. I recommend those as well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    For the most part, this book was an enjoyable read. The plot moves along at a snappy pace, and the characters are likable enough. But I didn't care for the ending, and I wished that the whole book had been a bit more focused. Dan Lavette is the protagonist, and yet Fast includes a large cast of supporting characters, and it never feels as if any of them have enough depth. I prefer my fiction to be more tightly focused on a few key characters. Similarly, I don't like it when a book of less than 5 For the most part, this book was an enjoyable read. The plot moves along at a snappy pace, and the characters are likable enough. But I didn't care for the ending, and I wished that the whole book had been a bit more focused. Dan Lavette is the protagonist, and yet Fast includes a large cast of supporting characters, and it never feels as if any of them have enough depth. I prefer my fiction to be more tightly focused on a few key characters. Similarly, I don't like it when a book of less than 500 pages attempts to cover 25 years worth of history. I think that's a big part of why I never felt like I got to know these characters well. Perhaps a shorter time frame would've been better able to support such a large cast of characters. If you want to know more about San Francisco in the early first decades of the 20th century or about the foundations of the Great Depression, this is an enjoyable enough book. Just don't read it expecting to really connect with the characters and feel any strong emotion about their experiences.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I had a basic 'meh' response to this book. Hoping for a John Jakes style epic, I was disappointed in the one-dimensional characters, skimming over of important historical events, and general blandness of this novel. My favorite characters in this book were Joseph and Anna Lavette, who are the original immigrants that the story opens up with. However, they are not the central characters of the book. It is their son Daniel who the bulk of the novel centers upon. He is an uneducated, rough, outspoke I had a basic 'meh' response to this book. Hoping for a John Jakes style epic, I was disappointed in the one-dimensional characters, skimming over of important historical events, and general blandness of this novel. My favorite characters in this book were Joseph and Anna Lavette, who are the original immigrants that the story opens up with. However, they are not the central characters of the book. It is their son Daniel who the bulk of the novel centers upon. He is an uneducated, rough, outspoken giant of a man who failed to gain my sympathy at any point in his life. Most of the supporting characters were as unlikeable, except for his wife, Jean. I'm pretty sure that Satan was the model for her character. With nobody to care about, this novel needed some drama and action to make it interesting. Despite the fact that it covers the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, World War I, the influenza epidemic, and the Stock Market Crash, this book maintains its inanity. The main characters float through these tragic times relatively unscathed, making this not only uninteresting but unbelievable. Even those who lose their money in the crash seem philosophical about the loss and are certain that they will be much happier without those troublesome millions. Fast's attempt at drama seems to be extramarital affairs. Everybody has at least one, even the guy who is supposed to be impotent. Apparently everyone was a slut in the early 20th century. Only one of these affairs seemed at all like a romance. The rest of them just felt like the author was desperately trying to convince readers to be interested or shocked. I wasn't. I have the rest of this trilogy and may continue it at some point to see if later generations of this family are more compelling, but for now there are too many books and too little time to continue with ones like this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette's parents immigrated to America and eventually made their way to San Francisco, and Dan learns to be a fisherman like his father - but when the great earthquake and fire hits in 1906 Dan is left orphaned and on his own. Not one to let anything get him down, he aims high and plans to get it all. Money. Ships. The richest and most beautif A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette's parents immigrated to America and eventually made their way to San Francisco, and Dan learns to be a fisherman like his father - but when the great earthquake and fire hits in 1906 Dan is left orphaned and on his own. Not one to let anything get him down, he aims high and plans to get it all. Money. Ships. The richest and most beautiful, unobtainable woman in San Francisco. The leader in the burgeoning airline business. The biggest hotel in the Hawaiian Islands. But, does all that success come at a price? Yes, it does, but I seriously doubt you'll care enough to get there, and I admit to skimming quite a lot just to get to the end. I'm always up for a big fat saga set in California and this was one of those 70's blockbuster books that I either missed the first time around or I read it and completely forgot it. The latter option is entirely possible ;). The characters are flat and unlikable and the story itself is so filled with the standard clichés of California industry and Fast isn't able to bring something fresh to any of it. And yes, the early days of film and wine-making are here, but since Dan's not involved we get secondary characters as filler. Since this series continues for three more books, perhaps these characters have some use, but I for one am not taking that ride. 3/5 stars. FTC? A Kindle freebie.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I like family sagas and this one was pretty good. It follows Dan Lavette as a young boy coming to America with his parents. They are so very poor and his Dad Joseph tries to find work. He is recruited to work for the railroad but has to move his family from New York to San Francisco. Joseph saves and is able to buy a fishing boat. He takes Dan with him and Dan learns to love it. One morning Dan gets up early to go to the boat. The 1906 earthquake hits and Dan's family is lost. The story continue I like family sagas and this one was pretty good. It follows Dan Lavette as a young boy coming to America with his parents. They are so very poor and his Dad Joseph tries to find work. He is recruited to work for the railroad but has to move his family from New York to San Francisco. Joseph saves and is able to buy a fishing boat. He takes Dan with him and Dan learns to love it. One morning Dan gets up early to go to the boat. The 1906 earthquake hits and Dan's family is lost. The story continues with the Levy family who take Dan in. It's the story of being poor, being rich and being poor again. Good book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Maybe only 3.5 stars I have enjoyed this easy read and looking forward to reading more, there are 5 more. This particular version I have, has some grammatical errors in it though which is a bit annoying at times. The family characters are developing well, however a strange ending to book one, if you did not know ahead there were more volumes to read, you would be left hanging.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ankit Agrawal

    I wish I could give this book 5 stars, I really wish I could because I loved the story pretty much. The thing which kept me from giving it 5 stars was the quality of writing. I would have been unfair to some other books I have read had I given this book 5 stars. The thing I didn't like was the lack of focus of the characters. The characters were not properly built to feel or have emotions for them. I never felt sad for a particular character when something bad happened to them nor did I feel gla I wish I could give this book 5 stars, I really wish I could because I loved the story pretty much. The thing which kept me from giving it 5 stars was the quality of writing. I would have been unfair to some other books I have read had I given this book 5 stars. The thing I didn't like was the lack of focus of the characters. The characters were not properly built to feel or have emotions for them. I never felt sad for a particular character when something bad happened to them nor did I feel glad when something good happened. It was just like I could have eaten anything the writer would have dished up. Howard Fast did not create enough enthusiasm and depth in his characters. Even though the story was inspiring and engaging without any dull moments, the characters weren't. With this type of writing I could have even done with giving this book 3 stars but I give it 4 for 2 reasons: One - I really loved the story and the ending was very touching. Two - The theme and some other parts of the book reminded me of my favorite book of all time (Kane and Abel). I absolutely love family sagas and historical fiction especially ones which cover a good number of years. I read atleast 1 family saga or historical every month. This book had a touch of both of those genres. It tells the stories of 4 Immigrant Families (Italian, Jew, Chinese) trying to find a way in America. They are ready to do any work they get and how they make their rise through rambles covering along the way all the effects of the 1906 earthquake and then the First World War and ending with The Great Depression in 1930's. Despite the characters being quite flat the story revolved around the years quite beautifully. It showed the adolescent and ad nauseam views of a boy who thinks and dreams of things which are not only out of his reach but only available to the rich. He gives his all in reaching to those things, that position meanwhile forgetting who he is and not knowing what life is. The book ends with a lot of moral though on life and lets us know with emotions the main theme that "one can have a wonderful life without riches or power". This series is as long as 6 books and even though I didn't particularly like the writing and the character development part, I think it was good enough for me to go on to read the 2nd book of the series and may be then the characters would make more sense as the characters are the same throughout the series just the story advances into different generations.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    How have I not discovered Howard Fast before…especially with my love of family sagas? “The Immigrants” (1977) sat untouched on my bookshelf until I decided to pick it up about a week ago. Turns out this is the first of six novels chronicling the development of America along with the Lavette family. “The Immigrants” begins in 1888 with a French-Italian fisherman and his young Italian wife arriving in New York Harbor and takes readers through 1933. The fisherman (Joesph Lavette) and his wife (Anna) How have I not discovered Howard Fast before…especially with my love of family sagas? “The Immigrants” (1977) sat untouched on my bookshelf until I decided to pick it up about a week ago. Turns out this is the first of six novels chronicling the development of America along with the Lavette family. “The Immigrants” begins in 1888 with a French-Italian fisherman and his young Italian wife arriving in New York Harbor and takes readers through 1933. The fisherman (Joesph Lavette) and his wife (Anna) travel for weeks to reach San Francisco with their young son (Daniel) who worships his father and his father’s fishing business. As this story unfolds, Daniel marries Jean, the only daughter of a wealthy Irish Nob Hill banker. Daniel has two children with Jean (Thomas Joseph and Barbara) and another son (Joseph) out of wedlock. Daniel’s best friend and business partner is Mark Levy, married to Sarah. They have two children (Jacob and Martha). Those are the basic players in this “installment” with intertwining lives of Italian, Jew, Irish and Chinese immigrant families. Fast, known in some circles as “America’s Dean of Historical Fiction,” is a memorable storyteller. Now to get my hands on the sequels: “Second Generation” (1978), “The Establishment” (1979), “The Legacy” (1981), “The Immigrant’s Daughter” (1985) and “An Independent Woman” (1997).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    I re-found Fast by the fortune of a free Kindle book. I loved this story of the Lavette family imigrated from Italy. Joseph was a fisherman. He and his wife Anna tried to make a life in America and to a large extent succeeded. The protoganist, Dan is the first born, who, without finishing high school joined his father as a simple fisherman and rose to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the country. It was a wonderful story, beautifully told. I was sorry when it ended. Copied from I re-found Fast by the fortune of a free Kindle book. I loved this story of the Lavette family imigrated from Italy. Joseph was a fisherman. He and his wife Anna tried to make a life in America and to a large extent succeeded. The protoganist, Dan is the first born, who, without finishing high school joined his father as a simple fisherman and rose to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the country. It was a wonderful story, beautifully told. I was sorry when it ended. Copied from the publisher: A love story of tremendous beauty...a tale of passion, adventure, and ambition set against the streets of San Francisco, America's most romantic city. Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian fisherman, battles from the rubble of the San Francisco earthquake to build a fortune in the shipping industry. Rising to success through hard work and a loveless marriage to the daughter of the city's wealthiest family, he risks it all for the exotic beauty of a woman who shares his secret and scandalous passion. From Nob Hill to the harbor, San Francisco comes alive through three immigrant families -- Italian, Irish, and Chinese -- whose intertwining dreams are propelled by the emotional events of America's coming of age...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Frances

    Overall, I enjoyed this book, and have made plans to read the next in the series. I had a few issues with it that make me choose a 4star rating rather than a 5. My primary gripe is that I think Fast brings a modern (as in mid-20th century) sensibility into it, and as a result characters make choices and act in ways I found a bit difficult to swallow for the time period. I actually could see one or even two of the men falling "in love" with someone other than their wife, and having an affair, but Overall, I enjoyed this book, and have made plans to read the next in the series. I had a few issues with it that make me choose a 4star rating rather than a 5. My primary gripe is that I think Fast brings a modern (as in mid-20th century) sensibility into it, and as a result characters make choices and act in ways I found a bit difficult to swallow for the time period. I actually could see one or even two of the men falling "in love" with someone other than their wife, and having an affair, but almost every main male character follows a similar trajectory, and that didn't ring true. Also, Danny, the protagonist, really swings widely between being self-actualized and totally passive. Again , it felt a bit off though it served the plot. Still Fast is a good writer, the book is fast moving and set in interesting times, and I have hope that the women characters will have larger roles in future books, as they seem to when I look at the titles. Glad I found this oldie but goodie.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yves

    I read this captivating novel in record time, while "taking a break" between "The 42nd Parallel" and "1919", the first two volumes of John Dos Passos "USA Trilogy" that actually cover the same period. I tremendously enjoyed the journey alongside French-Italian American born Dan Lavette, and the other ethnically diverse protagonists who accompany the reader along the first three decades spannning pre-quake San Fran to the aftermath of the crash of '29. A highly recommended, easy read, for recent I read this captivating novel in record time, while "taking a break" between "The 42nd Parallel" and "1919", the first two volumes of John Dos Passos "USA Trilogy" that actually cover the same period. I tremendously enjoyed the journey alongside French-Italian American born Dan Lavette, and the other ethnically diverse protagonists who accompany the reader along the first three decades spannning pre-quake San Fran to the aftermath of the crash of '29. A highly recommended, easy read, for recent immigrants, first generation Americans, Americans of European lineage whose forebearers landed in Ellis Island in the turn of the last century and eventually settled in California, and bay area curent and once residents- like myself-, as well as bay area enthusiasts. Beyond the gripping story it brilliantly narrates, this book invites the reader to ponder on the pursuit of happiness and the meaning of life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth Bedee

    This book reaffirmed how much I love family sagas. This is different from some other historical fictions in that there really aren't any historical characters, with the exception of the mention of some very minor politicians. The book instead gives you an insight into the times. I learned a lot about a variety of topics: finance, wine making, the stock market crash and subsequent bank failure, etc. I like how the book moves through time. Years will pass between chapters and narrative catches you This book reaffirmed how much I love family sagas. This is different from some other historical fictions in that there really aren't any historical characters, with the exception of the mention of some very minor politicians. The book instead gives you an insight into the times. I learned a lot about a variety of topics: finance, wine making, the stock market crash and subsequent bank failure, etc. I like how the book moves through time. Years will pass between chapters and narrative catches you up. I feel that the dialogue is superb. You really get a sense of each character's personality through their choice of words and sentence structure. I enjoyed this and intend to read the whole series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Coble

    It had promise, in that I love family sagas and tales of building a new life in America. A good example of such a book is _Galway Bay_. Howard Fast's _The Immigrants_, on the other hand, is a bad example. A simplistic, unrealistic soap opera of a book with characters who are cardboard cutouts and suffer from unrealistic fates. It's less a novel and more a laundry list of sex partners, babies born in and out of wedlock, business deals and Schoolhouse Rock-style recounting of world events. It had promise, in that I love family sagas and tales of building a new life in America. A good example of such a book is _Galway Bay_. Howard Fast's _The Immigrants_, on the other hand, is a bad example. A simplistic, unrealistic soap opera of a book with characters who are cardboard cutouts and suffer from unrealistic fates. It's less a novel and more a laundry list of sex partners, babies born in and out of wedlock, business deals and Schoolhouse Rock-style recounting of world events.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A family saga set in San Francisco.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hermien

    I thoroughly enjoyed this family saga set in San Francisco in the period 1890 to 1930. There are more books in the series so am looking forward to those.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    This is a re-read for me - I enjoyed it again...like coming back to see an old friend. Now I'm on to the next one in the series! This is a re-read for me - I enjoyed it again...like coming back to see an old friend. Now I'm on to the next one in the series!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Trista Bordignon

    I enjoy the Lavette family and the story of their lives. I also appreciate the history that is intertwined in the story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Pina

    This is now one of my favorite books. I'm so very glad that I "found" it! It is brimming with lovable characters and history, too. I just loved it! This is now one of my favorite books. I'm so very glad that I "found" it! It is brimming with lovable characters and history, too. I just loved it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Ellis

    What Taylor Caldwell did for the Irish in the Northeast in Captains and the Kings, Howard Fast has done for the Italians, Chinese, and Jewish families in San Francisco, beginning in the late 19th Century and taking the story all the way to the early 1930s. Dan Lavette's Italian immigrant parents struggled to make a living with their fishing boat, only to have their world burned to ashes following the earthquake of 1906. Dan survives and with the help of his Italian and Jewish friends, Chinese bo What Taylor Caldwell did for the Irish in the Northeast in Captains and the Kings, Howard Fast has done for the Italians, Chinese, and Jewish families in San Francisco, beginning in the late 19th Century and taking the story all the way to the early 1930s. Dan Lavette's Italian immigrant parents struggled to make a living with their fishing boat, only to have their world burned to ashes following the earthquake of 1906. Dan survives and with the help of his Italian and Jewish friends, Chinese bookkeeper, and his shrewd business sense, he builds an empire. The book is an epic saga of the lives of Dan, his family, friends, business associates, and indeed the whole incredible world of San Francisco and Los Angeles in the early 20th Century. Fortunes are made and lost, love is found and lost, but ideals and friendship survive the worst life can throw at them. It's a great story!

  20. 5 out of 5

    George

    VERY ENTERTAINING. Not much to say about Howard Fast’s character-driven, epic family saga, The Immigrants except that it is one of the best, most entertaining, historical fiction novels ever—in the mode of Michener, Clavell, Rutherfurd and Follet. Recommendation: I can’t wait to read Second Generation (Lavette Family Saga, #2) SourceBooks Landmark, Kindle edition, 6,606 Kindle Locations, 482 pages

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I found this book in the "Free" bin at my local library. I was drawn in by its lack of a jacket, a weathered cover, and yellowing pages. The title promised historical fiction, a personal favorite. I was not disappointed. I was pleased to learn that this is book launched a series of tales following the Lavette family ... I'm off to hunt down the other books in this saga. I found this book in the "Free" bin at my local library. I was drawn in by its lack of a jacket, a weathered cover, and yellowing pages. The title promised historical fiction, a personal favorite. I was not disappointed. I was pleased to learn that this is book launched a series of tales following the Lavette family ... I'm off to hunt down the other books in this saga.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    A complex family tale of rags to riches and back to rags. The suite of characters is well-drawn and eminently relatable. Very insightful commentary on the early history of San Francisco.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    According to my Kindle, I am 32% of the way through this book! (I really wish I knew what that meant in terms of pages.... one of the downsides of the Kindle). So far, I am really enjoying this book, it is a page turner (pixel turner??). I love immigrant stories in general. I have finished this book and wow. Hard to put down. Spent much of a low-key lazy Christmas day reading it. This is rags-to-riches-and-back-again story-- fiction, but historically accurate to early 20th century San Fransisco. According to my Kindle, I am 32% of the way through this book! (I really wish I knew what that meant in terms of pages.... one of the downsides of the Kindle). So far, I am really enjoying this book, it is a page turner (pixel turner??). I love immigrant stories in general. I have finished this book and wow. Hard to put down. Spent much of a low-key lazy Christmas day reading it. This is rags-to-riches-and-back-again story-- fiction, but historically accurate to early 20th century San Fransisco. Dan Lavette, the son of an immigrant Italian fisherman survives the 1906 earthquake and fire that kills his parents. He eventually becomes one of San Fransisco's wealthiest men. He has complicated relationships and all the characters are vividly rendered. By 1928 he is a millionaire many times over (but overleveraged!!). Despite the money he is lonely and unhappy. And of course after 1928 must come 1929 and you know what happens next. His slide to destitution is quick and without mercy. A financial planner's nightmare. I found out about this book from my daily word-of-the-day email from dictionary.com. They used a passage from this book to illustrate the word "chutzpa". Dan's business partner, a Jewish man named Daniel Levy, uses a lot of Yiddish. When we were first married my husband and I lived on the first floor of a triple decker house; the woman on the 3rd floor was a Hebrew scholar who peppered her vocabulary with a lot of Yiddish. A lot of the things Dan says in the book remind me of her. A great read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Ledet

    I just finished the whole six book series. I read this series years ago and had been thinking about it so I decided to reread it and in the last two books was surprised at how much Howard Fast had forgotten as he went along. It was nothing important just funny to read the errors. Never the less it is an excellent story about Dan Lavette's family from before the first great earthquake all the way to Iran/Contra. Even before Dan dies his daughter Barbara becomes the main character in the books. Th I just finished the whole six book series. I read this series years ago and had been thinking about it so I decided to reread it and in the last two books was surprised at how much Howard Fast had forgotten as he went along. It was nothing important just funny to read the errors. Never the less it is an excellent story about Dan Lavette's family from before the first great earthquake all the way to Iran/Contra. Even before Dan dies his daughter Barbara becomes the main character in the books. They are from San Francisco CA with all it's city and it's rich and powerful. Barbara Lavette marries and loses husbands, involves herself in wars as a correspondant covering wars all over the world. Her life long hatred of war is nurtured by each experience and to the end is a avid pacifist. I hope if you read this series you will leave your personal opinions and just enjoy this amazing story by a truly gifted writer.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Premanand Velu

    “Moved by deep love, a man is courageous. And with frugality, a man becomes generous. And he who does not desire to be ahead of the world becomes the leader of the world.” A very Eastern outlook alien to the typical western writes. This book of Howard fast, my first time read of his works has a gripping story line which is definitely fast and sticks hard. I am usually skeptical about fast American Saga. Starts as a usual Family, revenge and intrigue but then evolves into something very tender and “Moved by deep love, a man is courageous. And with frugality, a man becomes generous. And he who does not desire to be ahead of the world becomes the leader of the world.” A very Eastern outlook alien to the typical western writes. This book of Howard fast, my first time read of his works has a gripping story line which is definitely fast and sticks hard. I am usually skeptical about fast American Saga. Starts as a usual Family, revenge and intrigue but then evolves into something very tender and touching talking not of wins or the thrills of it but the very purpose of what one strives. The easy written style brings forth an interesting array of people and their personalities, never bad, just different all of them. A very optimistic write. Reading it in one single continuous spree I wonder why I missed this ever...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Terri Hardy

    Loved, loved, loved this book! Being the granddaughter of an Italian immigrant, I was awakened to the immense difficulties faced by those looking for a better life on these shores. And the fact that my daughter now lives in San Francisco on Russian Hill where much of the book takes place made it even more enjoyable. I loved the writing style, where the author jumps from one plot to the next every couple of pages so I was always engaged with all the characters, never bored. Although this book was Loved, loved, loved this book! Being the granddaughter of an Italian immigrant, I was awakened to the immense difficulties faced by those looking for a better life on these shores. And the fact that my daughter now lives in San Francisco on Russian Hill where much of the book takes place made it even more enjoyable. I loved the writing style, where the author jumps from one plot to the next every couple of pages so I was always engaged with all the characters, never bored. Although this book was written to introduce the lineage of Barbara Lavette, the main character of the series, I enjoyed the story lines of her parents and their era more than the subsequent books. But I must say that I couldn't wait to read the next books in the series and have not been disappointed yet.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gail Amendt

    This is the fist book of a highly acclaimed series written in the late 1970's. I enjoy a good historical family saga and thought I would give it a try. While there are some good points to this rags to riches story set in San Francisco, it reads too much like a soap opera to suit me. The characters are stereotypical and unlikeable, much of the plot is implausible, and it seemed that everyone was cheating on their spouse. It reminded me a lot of the prime time soap operas about wealthy families th This is the fist book of a highly acclaimed series written in the late 1970's. I enjoy a good historical family saga and thought I would give it a try. While there are some good points to this rags to riches story set in San Francisco, it reads too much like a soap opera to suit me. The characters are stereotypical and unlikeable, much of the plot is implausible, and it seemed that everyone was cheating on their spouse. It reminded me a lot of the prime time soap operas about wealthy families that were popular in the era in which it was written. It does give a very good overview of California history in the early 1900's, and it did serve to reinforce my desire to visit San Francisco, so it wasn't a complete waste of my time, but I will not be continuing with the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Naranjo

    I have read this novel more than 6 times because i love the author's vision of a young man making certain things that seem impossible for someone of his age. It is developed on San Francisco and tells the story of Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian immigrant and that at 16 years old became an orphan after the 1906 earthquake. Dan Lavette is an inpirational character because when he grows up he falls in love with Jean Seldon, daughter of the richest banker of San Francisco, and him being a simple I have read this novel more than 6 times because i love the author's vision of a young man making certain things that seem impossible for someone of his age. It is developed on San Francisco and tells the story of Dan Lavette, the son of an Italian immigrant and that at 16 years old became an orphan after the 1906 earthquake. Dan Lavette is an inpirational character because when he grows up he falls in love with Jean Seldon, daughter of the richest banker of San Francisco, and him being a simple fisherman achieves to become one of the recihest men in San Francisco and to marry the woman he wanted.

  29. 5 out of 5

    abclaret

    This book was simply amazing. Theres been, in recent times a few books in which Ive struggled to get to the end of, but I think I finished this in under week of solid reading. Its simply that compelling, I made time for it. Fasts approach to characters, settings and general narrative gives not only a very human and emotional story to events but makes it appear fluid, much like film. His work in a sense is approachable, engaging and in my opinion this is how good books should be written.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    The Immigrants is the first in a series of six books by Howard Fast. I first read these books in the early 80's and devoured them as fast as I could. If you like reading about the same characters throughout several books, following along the family lineage, all the while surrounded in colorful historical fiction, then this series is for you. Its pretty amazing that you can go through several generations of the same family! The Immigrants is the first in a series of six books by Howard Fast. I first read these books in the early 80's and devoured them as fast as I could. If you like reading about the same characters throughout several books, following along the family lineage, all the while surrounded in colorful historical fiction, then this series is for you. Its pretty amazing that you can go through several generations of the same family!

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