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Union leader William McGovern shepherds his noble carpenters federation into a labor strike, but his struggle for laborers’ rights is not met without opposition as he sets in motion the events that will bring everything he loves crashing down around him. Besieged from all sides, McGovern holds tightly to that which is dear: his faith in God and his love for his only son, Nikolaus. Alone in an unforgiving city, the adolescent Nikolaus navigates the perilous street corners and back alleys of Manhattan’s Sixth Ward — home of the notorious Five Points — and as he attempts to unburden his father, he comes face-to-face with the harsh truths of urban life.