The Faithful and the Fallen


A novel by Michael Leon

This book is a retrospect as told to a group of journalists by a United States Senator about to be nominated to run for the Office of President of the United States.  Going back to the Great Depression, his story transcends four generations beginning with two unrelated Jewish immigrant families that settled in separate very tough ghettos in New York City; one on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and the other in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.   More than just the hardships and difficulties each family faced, the Senator’s story is about good vs. evil; a story of honor, responsibility, humility, deep faith, and evil beyond imagination.  It’s a story of those in his family whose roots were predestined to secure the destiny of a future President.

The main characters include three young homeless brothers surviving on the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, one of which is the future father of the Senator.  Displaced from their home and family after the accidental death of their father, these three young boys survive the Great Depression eating out of trash cans and living unnoticed in the cellar of the very tenement building where their mother and sister live with a charitable neighbor.  At only ten years old, the oldest brother’s primary mission was to honor the wishes of his father that he care for his family should something befall him.  As young adults, the three brothers become World War II heroes, as two question their faith after seeing the carnage upon entering the Dachau Concentration Camp as the first liberators.

Other main characters include a young girl, who is the future mother of the Senator, whose father deserts his wife and seven children, and the two boys turn killers she grew up with in the very tough Brownsville section of Brooklyn.  As young adults, these two evildoing boys form a gang known as the Brownsville Boys, which later became known as Murder, Incorporated.

And, of course, there’s the Senator who was born to parents who should have never married.  Growing up in a home with constant spousal fighting, both verbal and physical, this character runs away to the army and returns home a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.  Finishing college under his veteran’s benefits, he becomes a self-made billionaire, successfully wins two terms to the U.S. Senate, and as the story begins, may be nominated to run for the Office of the President of the United States.

Although a novel, this book is based on some family history and personal experiences of the writer.