Galveston's 1900 Hurricane is Backdrop for Tale of Struggle Against Bigotry and Injustice

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As Galveston enters the twentieth century, the alley people band together against racism and injustice. Men and women, nuns and prostitutes struggle to change a town threatened by the rich and corrupt on the eve of the Great Hurricane of 1900.

In the early twentieth century, the alley people of Galveston, Texas embark on a journey of self-discovery as they try to imagine a better community in a rapidly changing world. Michael Kasenow has created a richly historic, vivid and inspiring tapestry in "The Last Paradise" (ISBN 9781440120015, iUniverse, 2009).

When Maxwell Hayes enters Galveston, he sees two signs that tell him everything he needs to know about the city. The first declares Galveston is paradise, the "Wall Street of the Southwest" and "Third Richest City in the Nation." The second sign, strung around a black man's neck who hangs noose high from a tree, says, "This Nigger Voted." Galveston's goals for greatness clash with its prejudice and hypocrisy. In the age of Jim Crow, poor whites and blacks, prostitutes and nuns will struggle to fight racism and oppression, civic and corporate corruption.

"The Last Paradise" follows two drifters, Maxwell Hayes and Newt Haskins, Jacob Bishop and his family, and Maxwell's love interest--the prostitute Fanny Brown--as they journey through self-discovery to find their places in the changing landscape of a modernizing world. Joined by the nuns of St. Mary's and the puckish poor who hang out at Bleach's Tavern, these determined men and women draw upon their inner strength and character, instilled from their experiences growing up on America's frontier, to stand up for their dreams and independence, even in the midst of turmoil.

A story about what America should be and how to shape it, "The Last Paradise" speaks to readers today. Kasenow's characters fight to be the free men and women their courageous spirits demand despite political corruption, oppression by the rich, and natural disasters. Culminating in the dramatic Great Hurricane of 1900 that leveled Galveston, killing thousands, "The Last Paradise" is a tale of fortitude, resilience, and how to keep the American dream alive.

Michael Kasenow has written a triumphant debut novel. "The Last Paradise" is rich with stunning depictions of turn-of-the century Galveston and the devastation wrought by the Great Hurricane of 1900. Part historical fiction, part mystery thriller, the novel inspires readers to find their own inner strength in the midst of tribulation. Humorous, evocative and sobering, "The Last Paradise" retains a sense of adventure and trust in the human soul's ability to prevail.

About the Author
In the eighth grade, Michael Kasenow was embarrassed to be illiterate, and would hide from friends in the middle school library in an attempt to read short pieces of poetry. He says of this time, "By reading poetry one learns how to read, write and dream." He dropped out of college at age nineteen to escape a world of drugs and the downward spiral of his friends' lives. He traveled across America, from Michigan to Texas to New Mexico doing odd jobs--cab driver, bartender, lumberman, janitor, butcher, and rancher. Interested in science, he taught himself mathematics, and he earned a B.S. in Geology from Eastern Michigan University in 1986, followed by a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University. He has taught geology and hydrogeology at EMU since 1989. He is the author of fourteen environmental science books published internationally by Water Resources Publications. "The Last Paradise" is his first novel. Kasenow lives in Michigan where he is enjoying watching his son grow.

"The Last Paradise" (ISBN 9781440120015, iUniverse, 2009) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit Publicity contact: Review copies available upon request.

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