Free Ebook- The Potato Thief


https://tinyurl.com/y8nozxjf

Harry Hallman’s epic prequel to the Mercy Row Series of novels about the Philadelphia Irish Mob is free from August 30 to September 3rd
on Amazon.  It’s 1881 and eighteen-year-old Irishman George Graham steals a bag of potatoes to feed his starving family. This simple act of desperation sets him on an epic journey to lands he never knew existed. George endures the sweltering Jungles of Indochina, faces bloodthirsty pirates in the South Atlantic, fights a war in Cuba, and finally makes it to the land of milk and honey, America.
https://tinyurl.com/y8nozxjf

Cheesesteaks, Hoagies and Irish Mobsters

When Harry Hallman or Buddy as his family called him, was growing up in the blue-collar section of Philadelphia known as Kensington, he never dreamt that he would be the author of four novels about his hometown and it’s infamous Irish gangsters. Throughout his childhood, he had heard stories about the North Philly Irish gangs. And while he had no aspiration to live life of crime he found the stories fascinating.

The Irish gangs took on almost mythical attributes as stories spread about their exploits. In Kensington, the Irish Gangs were as Philadelphia as cheesesteaks, hoagies, scrapple and soft pretzels. In 1959 a story began to spread seemingly as if it came right off the screen of a Hollywood movie. A crew that was part of the gang robbed a Pottstown coal company executive, taking over $478,000 in cash and jewelry. That’s the equivalent of about $4 Million in 2018 dollars. The robbery was reported to have been instigated by a Philly showgirl the press dubbed Tiger Lil. What followed was years of court cases, two of the crew were found dead, Tiger Lil’s was convicted, and subsequently, that conviction was overturned.

Hallman remembers asking his father, who owned and operated a poolroom on Allegheny Ave, who these robbers were. “He just looked at me and said, just some guys that hang out at K and A (Kensington and Allegheny Avenues). People just didn’t talk much about the specifics of the gang’s exploits. I spent a lot of time in my dad’s poolroom and met many guys who hung out at K and A. When I was a little older I realized they were actually part of the infamous K and A Gang, a name they did not use for themselves,” Hallman said.

After high school, Hallman joined the USAF where he learned to be a photographer. He spent two years in Vietnam and after an honorable discharge started his first company, with a business partner in 1970. In 1981 be moved to Atlanta and created a new company that produced events for large companies. He raised two children and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in 2016. Through it all, he never forgot the stories of Philly Irish mobsters or his childhood in kensington.

“I always wanted to write a novel but never had the time. When I sold my company, I realized I had no excuse. I searched for a topic, and it always came back to Philly. I loved my childhood in Kensington’s rough and tumble streets and decided whatever I wrote it would be about Philly, and it would be action-oriented. Naturally, I choose Irish mobsters to write about. Philly has always lived in the shadow of NYC and I wanted to put a spotlight on the city and the area where I grew up,” Hallman said.

Hallman decided to write about a family that headed the Irish gangs of North Philly. His first novel is titled Mercy Row and takes place in the 1920s and 30s. It heralds the beginning of a powerful Irish criminal family. “My novels are pure fiction, but when I describe Philadelphia, it is all fact. The Street names are all real, as are any historical events. I was surprised that I received many compliments from Fellow Philadelphians saying my book reminded them of their childhood. It was very gratifying,” Hallman said.

 The second book in the Mercy Row series, Mercy Row Clann, is about the war years 1943 and 44. The family fights two wars, one at home and one in Europe and the Pacific.  Book three, Mercy Row Retribution, finds the Grandson of the leader of the gang serving in the military in Vietnam. He’s a pilot flying covert missions and devises a way to export large quantities of marijuana for distribution in the USA.

“I wrote the fourth Mercy Row novel as a prequel. There was a character in the first book that intrigued me. I wanted to see how he got to Philadelphia from his home in Ireland and how he met the father of the man who would become the leader of the Irish Gang of North Philly. It turned out to be an epic taking him on an action-packed adventure around the world before he settled in Kensington,” Hallman said.

Hallman is currently writing a fifth Mercy row novel. This one takes place in the late 1980s. He promised it to be every bit the action-packed adventure as the previous novels.

The Mercy Row series including the prequel The Potato Theif are available on Amazon.com (www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J606XOW/) in print, eBook and audiobook formats.

 

The Potato Thief- Five Star Rating

ive Here are just a few of the five-star reb=views for Harry Hallman’s newest Mercy Row Prequel THE POTATO THIEF.  https://www.amazon.com/Potato-Thief-Mercy-Row-Prequel-ebook/dp/B07BB4PL9R/

Capt Bill

 

Format: Paperback

 

April 16, 2018

Format: Paperback

More of The Potato Thief Launch Party

Here are a couple more photos from the book party. I pose with the Irish dancers and my daughter Nancy created this display. Notice the Oh Ryan’s Irish Potatoes. It was fun getting non Philly folks to try them and to see their surprise and delight when they found out they were candy.

 

The Potato Thief Launch Party

This video was taken during my book party at my daughter and son’s boutique in Atlanta. The theme was, of course, Irish and we had dancers, one of whom was a fiddler. As with any good old fashion pub a roving engineer saw them and stopped by the store. Turns out he was born and raised in Philly and even knew what an Irish Potato was. Anyway true to form of a Philly bred Irish American he started to sing the old tunes. It was fantastic and as you can see, true to form, he had a Guinness in this hand. The Dancer/Fiddler was amazing. She was from the Drake School of Irish Dance.

THE MERCY ROW PHILLY IRISH MOB PREQUEL IS HERE!

“A fast paced, action packed, an epic prequel to the popular Mercy Row series of novels about PHILADELPHIA’S IRISH MOB.”

The Potato Thief- A prequel to the Mercy Row Series of Novels
By author Harry Hallman
www.amazon.com/Harry-Hallman/e/B00J606XOW/

It’s 1881 and eighteen-year-old Irishman George Graham steals a bag of potatoes to feed his starving family. This simple act of desperation sets him on an epic journey to lands he never knew existed. George endures the sweltering Jungles of Indochina, faces bloodthirsty pirates in the South Atlantic, fights a war in Cuba, and finally makes it to the land of milk and honey, America.

After he lands on the gritty streets of Kensington, the Irish section of Philadelphia, he finds the milk spoiled and the honey not so sweet. Prejudice and hatred for all immigrants, especially Irish Catholics, still thrives in the hearts of the rich and ruling class. To survive and prosper George and three other Irish immigrants join forces to supply weapons to both Irish and Cuban rebels. Teenager Charlie Byrne joins them, and together they build the beginnings of what one day will be one of the most successful Irish criminal organization in the City of Brotherly Love.

Available on Amazon and other online booksellers. Order here and receive it in a few days.  www.amazon.com/Harry-Hallman/e/B00J606XOW/

Song Hints for The Potato Thief.

I will be posting five songs that give hints about my new novel The Potato Thief. It is a prequel to Mercy Row. Later in honor of St. Paddy’s day, I’ll give you a list of SONGS OF IRISH EMIGRATION as well as some write-ups.
https://www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel/videos/1219226071554395/

 

Garyowen is an old Irish song that has been adopted by various militaries throughout modern history. It gained fame as being the last tune played by George Custer’s army before the battle of little big horn. This novel takes place between 1881 and 1902 well after Custer’s ‘s demise. For some reason every time I hear this song it pulls at my heartstrings.
https://www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel/videos/1219230828220586/

Mercy Row This is a French marching song sung by the French Foreign Legion. It’s in French and you’ll have to buy my book to get the translation.

https://www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel/videos/1219233214887014/

 

Even though this book is mostly about George Graham coming to Philadelphia, I do have some southern influences in the book. In fact, this song is played in the book, well not played but mentioned. It has an Irish flavor. You have to remember that Irish immigrants fought on both sides of the Civil War. My novel, however, is not about the Civil War.
https://www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel/video/1219237738219895/

 

This is the last song and it’s about a group of men who fought in every war from the Civil War to Korea. They played an important role in kicking Spain’s ass in the Spanish American War, especially on San Juan Hill. They were called the Buffalo Soldiers and this group of cavalrymen was made up of African Americans. They deserve our thanks and I hope my depiction of them in my novel helps to shed a little light on their contribution.

Be sure to see the other four clues (songs) on this page that are about The Potato Thief.

https://www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel/videos/1219241411552861/

The Potato Thief – Coming in Two weeks


A prequel to the Mercy Row Series of Novels

It’s 1881 and eighteen-year-old Irishman George Graham steals a bag of potatoes to feed his starving family. This simple act of desperation sets him on an epic journey to lands he never knew existed. George endures the sweltering Jungles of Indochina, faces bloodthirsty pirates in the South Atlantic, fights a war in Cuba, and finally makes it to the land of milk and honey, America.

After he lands on the gritty streets of Kensington, the Irish section of Philadelphia, he finds the milk spoiled and the honey not so sweet. Prejudice and hatred for all immigrants, especially Irish Catholics, still thrives in the hearts of the rich and ruling class. To survive and prosper George and three other Irish immigrants join forces to supply weapons to both Irish and Cuban rebels. Teenager Charlie Byrne joins them, and together they build the beginnings of what one day will be one of the most successful Irish criminal organization in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Forgotten War

The Forgotten War

Veterans day for me is a time to remember the sacrifices of all those who served in our military throughout our history. I have written about the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam as have many others, but the war that seems always to be forgotten is the Spanish American War.

It was a short war; April 1898 to August 1898. There is a debate (like Vietnam) whether the war was necessary and righteous. It freed Cuba from an oppressive Spanish rule, but it also made the U.S. similar to many European countries because we acquired ownership of the Philippines, Porto Rico and Guam. In all but title, these countries became US colonies.
Right or wrong we asked our people to fight this war and 3,549 men lost their lives. Another 1,600 were wounded. 2,900 of the deaths were caused by disease, not military action. Many, many more fought battles in Cuba, the Philippines, Porto Rico and Guam. We hear a lot about Roosevelt leading his rough riders up San Juan Hill, but not about the common soldiers, marines, and sailors who actually won the war. Over 100 Medal of Honors were awarded.

Four regiments of Buffalo Soldiers (African American Soldiers) were sent to Cuba and the Philippines after spending years fighting in the Indian wars. There were five Medals of Honor awarded to people in these regiments. By the way, they also fought in WW1, WW2, and Korea.

One thing the Spanish American War did was to make Europe take notice of this just over 100 year old country of ours. And they have been dependent on us ever since

Thanksgiving in Kensington Neighborhood in Philadelphia -1944-1961

Thanksgiving in Kensington
Kensington Neighborhood in Philadelphia -1944-1961

It’s odd how we remember the “old days” with reverence and fondness. The truth is never exactly how we remember it, and that’s a good thing. I spent my first 17 years on this earth celebrating Thanksgiving in our Wishart Street two-story row home, where I shared a bedroom with my brother. All of this occurred against the backdrop of several wars, polio epidemics, gang fights and the occasional incarceration of some neighbors, but I cannot remember one bad Thanksgiving.

I do remember funny and heartwarming family gatherings, where all of our cousins, aunts, and uncles laughing and enjoyed a feast. I remember the time a bar of soap accidentally fell into the mash potatoes my grandmother was making. We found that out the hard way. I remember drawing turkeys and pilgrims and hanging them in the classroom at William Cramp Elementary School. I remember my first 8-year-old “crush” Lois, who had no idea I existed. I remember the cold bite of the air as we played half ball or hung out on the corner with Billy Pullman, Georgie McIver, Phil and Bob Gormley, Harry Elliott, Pat Morris and others.

I remember walking down Mascher Street to Wishart and east a block to my house, with the snow swirling around my head. When it snowed my grandfather (Harry Hird) would alter his “pull my finger” joke and say “I hope this keeps up!”. We would all agree with glee, and then he would that say “because that way it won’t come down.” Okay yes, it is silly, but to a 7-year-old it was meaningful because we were hoping to get one more day added to our two days off we got for Thanksgiving. Snow was our friend. It allowed us to be free from the rigors of learning and provided us with a means to sled down Howard Street or McPherson Square Park.

No one who ever attended the Gimbals’ Thanksgiving Day parade ever could forget it. Before television became popular, our Dad would drive my brother Bill and me downtown to attend the parade. I remember the smell of Chestnuts roasting in pushcarts, Santa’s helpers (all dressed like Santa) collecting money, bright multicolored lights, and decorations and I especially remember the real Santa as he was the last to arrive in the parade. He would climb a large ladder, supplied by the Philadelphia Fire department, to his home for the next month on the 4th floor of the store. I never wondered how an old fat man could climb that high. After all, if he could climb down fake chimneys on homes all over the world a four-story climb up a ladder would be a piece of cake.

Speaking of cake, I vividly remember the smell of roasting turkey with stuffing, mince pie, pumpkin pie, and my mother’s favorite pineapple upside down cake. In later years her favorite became Apple cake. Little did I know that 1961 would be my last Thanksgiving Day celebration in Kensington for four years. In 1962 I spent my Thanksgiving at Lackland Airbase in San Antonio Texas in basic training. In 1963 I was in Riverside California and then Saigon for 1964 and 65.

Of all the memories I have, the most powerful are the memories of my family and friends. Those memories have lasted me a lifetime. They sustain me in troubled times. When I’m feeling sad, I simply travel back in time and relive the time with those who have now traveled beyond this world. In this way, we can all be time travelers. Each year I add to those memories as I continue the tradition here in Atlanta, with Duoc, Bill, Nancy, Ava and their friends.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and sincerely hope you have and will make more fond memories of your own.