I wish I could give this book 5 stars, I really wish I could because I loved the story pretty much. The thing which kept me from giving it 5 stars was the quality of writing. I would have been unfair to some other books I have read had I given this book 5 stars. The thing I didn't like was the lack of focus of the characters. The characters were not properly built to feel or have emotions for them. I never felt sad for a particular character when something bad happened to them nor did I feel glad when something good happened. It was just like I could have eaten anything the writer would have dished up. Howard Fast did not create enough enthusiasm and depth in his characters. Even though the story was inspiring and engaging without any dull moments, the characters weren't. With this type of writing I could have even done with giving this book 3 stars but I give it 4 for 2 reasons:One - I really loved the story and the ending was very touching.Two - The theme and some other parts of the book reminded me of my favorite book of all time ([b:Kane and Abel|78983|Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1)|Jeffrey Archer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312011887s/78983.jpg|1084150]).I absolutely love family sagas and historical fiction especially ones which cover a good number of years. I read atleast 1 family saga or historical every month. This book had a touch of both of those genres. It tells the stories of 4 Immigrant Families (Italian, Jew, Chinese) trying to find a way in America. They are ready to do any work they get and how they make their rise through rambles covering along the way all the effects of the 1906 earthquake and then the First World War and ending with The Great Depression in 1930's. Despite the characters being quite flat the story revolved around the years quite beautifully. It showed the adolescent and ad nauseam views of a boy who thinks and dreams of things which are not only out of his reach but only available to the rich. He gives his all in reaching to those things, that position meanwhile forgetting who he is and not knowing what life is. The book ends with a lot of moral though on life and lets us know with emotions the main theme that "one can have a wonderful life without riches or power".This series is as long as 6 books and even though I didn't particularly like the writing and the character development part, I think it was good enough for me to go on to read the 2nd book of the series and may be then the characters would make more sense as the characters are the same throughout the series just the story advances into different generations.