Human InterestThe Putnam Examiner

Mahopac Author Touches On Century-Old Tragedy in Latest Novel

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Award-winning author David Gordon has penned another work of historical fiction.

“Until Time Erases You is best seen as Titanic, on land,” said award-winning Mahopac author David Gordon of his latest historical fiction novel, filled with emotional drama and thrill.

Gordon, a retired U.S. marine and seasoned American history and law teacher, takes readers into the lives of three young characters living in the early 1900s Progressive Era who are involved in a “love triangle,” where industrialism and immigration were at the forefront of an operating American society.

The three main characters, Catherine, Jacob and Michael, are employed as garment workers for greedy industrialists in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. The plot explores how they each attempt to escape the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which is still deemed as the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City, and one of the worst in United States’ history. All exits in the building were locked to prevent worker breaks and potential robbery.

“The core of the novel is a love triangle, set in turn of the century New York with its vibrant immigrant culture and growing industrial fervor,” Gordon explained. “Catherine has been forced from her home in Italy after an eruption of Vesuvius. She makes her way to America in hopes of sending money home to her family. There, she finds herself entwined in a love triangle between Jacob, a Russian Jew forced from his home during the pogroms and a second-generation Irish immigrant, Michael, who lives under the shadow of his father’s heroism.”

A total of 146 garment workers died as a result of the fire, primarily young Italian and Jewish immigrant girls, suffocating or falling to their death.

Gordon became infatuated with the 1911 catastrophe from a personal experience while working in a restaurant, where an emergency fire door was locked by a manager. He instantly remembered the tragedy of the Triangle Factory fire from a history class, and his spark of interest in the fire’s detail began there. He noted that his second master’s degree in American History, which he received from Southern New Hampshire University, focused on Gilded Age fires and progressive reforms.

“As a teen, I worked in a local fast-food restaurant, now defunct, where the assistant manager locked the fire door,” Gordon said. “I had remembered a lesson in history class about the Triangle Fire, it was maybe all of 10 minutes, but it resonated with me. The story of these young girls, overcrowded factory floors and the locked doors. As employees, we spoke up and got the door unlocked, but they didn’t have the same protections then. My fascination with Triangle began in that moment.”

The protections that developed which allowed Gordon to act in defense and get the fire door unlocked when he felt potential danger some years ago came from laws developed due to the Triangle.

The thrill of the story: Tragedy is inevitable, but who will survive, and who will succumb to one of the worst industrial fires in the country’s existence.

“More than anything, I hope that readers will remember the victims of the tragedy and the better world that was forged by those who wanted their deaths to have meaning,” Gordon said. “My hope was to use a fictional romance to draw readers into the very real disaster that occurred at Triangle.”

Print and ebook versions of Gordon’s novel is available on Amazon.



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