Back in 1999, I traveled in New England. I told intrepid traveler Tom Manshreck that I was going to visit New Bedford. He said ""Yeah, man--New Bedford used to be a good place to go to--to get shot!" but that it was better now. The book Down at the Docks is about those aspects of New Bedford which made it a good place to get shot.
This book is... it talks about the people of New Bedford. There are a few, uhm, protagonists, locals who the author talks to. The book has slices-of-life from these folks. It also has swaths of city history. These are not nice people. These people are scary. New Bedford used to be a good place to go to to get shot. Murder, you bet. Rape--famous for rape. (And, in one incident, a rally in support of some rapists.) Junkies stealing anything that's not nailed down. Non-junkies stealing plenty, too. Sinking boats for insurance fraud. Setting fire to factories for insurance fraud.
Along the way, some darned good writing about some darned interesting people. Terrible things happen, but you can't look away, the book carries you along. Very recommended, but it helps if you have a strong stomach.
Labels: book, brutal truth, nautical