Sun, Jan

Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion




In Easter Rising Michael Patrick MacDonald tells the story of how he escaped Old Colony housing project, and learned to live again. Desperate to avoid the "normal" life of crime and drugs that surrounds him, Michael crosses the bridge into the bigger world and reinvents himself in the burgeoning punk rock movement downtown.

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At nineteen MacDonald escapes further, to Paris and then London. Out of money, he contacts his Irish immigrant grandfather — who offers a loan after securing a promise that Michael will visit Ireland. It is this reluctant journey "home" that reconciles MacDonald with his neighborhood, his family, and his heritage — and the real way forward. A roots journey laced with both rebellion and profound redemption.



Michael Patrick MacDonald grew up in South Boston’s Old Colony housing project. After losing four siblings and seeing his generation decimated by poverty, crime, and addiction, he became a leading Boston activist, helping launch many antiviolence initiatives, including gun-buyback programs. He continues to work for social change nationally, collaborating with survivor families and young people.

MacDonald won the American Book Award in 2000. His national bestseller, All Souls, and his follow-up, Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion have been adopted by university curriculums across the country. MacDonald has written numerous essays for the Boston Globe Op-Ed Page and has completed the screenplay of All Souls for director Ron Shelton. He is currently Author-in-Residence at Northeastern University. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.


"A brave, heartbreaking piece of truth." — Patti Smith

"[A] tale of a journey that is as inspiring as it is haunting." — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"MacDonald is a fine writer, with a terrific ear for dialogue and a gift for creating compelling scenes... An instructive, lively tale, told in a voice that's well worth hearing" — Washington Post Book World

"At pivotal moments, MacDonald's prose - muscular and insistently alive - quivers like a fist about to take a swing... Where All Souls reads as a eulogy for a lost neighborhood, Easter Rising punches through its bindings like a punk rock zine" — San Francisco Chronicle

"Lyrical, reflective, amusing, and wise." — Irish America

A well-wrought tale of personal transformation, Easter Rising hits all the right notes." — Clint Conley, Mission of Burma

"MacDonald’s gift is that he guides us with vision, insight, humor, and the clear, chiseled word. His is a rare sleight of hand." — Colum McCann, author of This Side of Brightness

"Blistering scrapbook pages from a melancholy childhood." — Kirkus

"Powerful." — Booklist

"Alternately funny and heartbreaking" — Newsweek