The Amalgamation Polka

Born in 1844 in bucolic upstate New York, Liberty Fish is the son of fervent abolitionists and the grandson of Carolina slaveholders. Thus his childhood exposes him to fugitive slaves, to the free-soil adventure stories of his Uncle Potter (the violence of which sets the tone of the mounting national crisis) and to the inevitable distress of his mother whenever letters arrive from her parents - a conflict that ultimately costs her life. Hoping to reconcile this familial disunion, Liberty escapes first into the cauldron of war, then into a bedlam more disturbing still. Instantly revelatory and constantly mesmerizing, The Amalgamation Polka captures great swaths of the American experience.