All Souls: A Family Story From Southie
A national bestseller, All Souls: A Family Story From Southie (Beacon Press, September 1999), won an American Book Award and a New England Literary Lights Award, as well as the Myers Outstanding Book Award administered by the Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.
With All Souls MacDonald writes a gripping memoir about his life growing up in the Old Colony housing projects in South Boston, a predominantly white Irish Catholic neighborhood. He writes about the crime, drugs and violence in his neighborhood in the years following Boston's busing riots, and of his brothers and sisters, many of whom fell prey to drugs, crime, and suicide. The book introduces his mother, Helen King (Ma), a feisty woman who raised her ten children while living in the projects. (sixth child died three weeks after birth because of pneumonia.) Additionally, the book often mentions Whitey Bulger, a gangster and FBI informant in Southie, who brought the drug trade into the neighborhood, contributing to the deaths of hundreds of young people due to suicides, murders, and overdoses. Despite all that is bad, MacDonald writes about how proud and loyal the residents were to be from Southie, excluding MacDonald himself who admits in the book he told those he met that he was from Dorchester and how some of the best elements of the neighborhood have been wiped out along with the worst due to gentrification.
Easter Rising: An Irish American Coming Up from Under
Released in October 2006, Easter Rising: An Irish American Coming Up from Under continues Michael Patrick MacDonald's personal story. It tells of his path out of Southie, and the history of the 1980s punk subculture, punk ideologies, and post-punk music scenes. In addition, he speaks of meeting older family members.