For Marty Dworkin and his band of young Trotskyist dreamers in Buffalo, New York, the vision of a just, socialist world crumbles with the rise of Stalin and the chaos of World War II. In the two decades that follow, Dworkin and his idealistic colleagues strive to establish a new political party and battle through unexpected trials with family, work, aging, and the changing world. They run up against an increasingly conservative America and a thriving materialism directly opposed to their own fervent beliefs. They emerge humbled, but still hopeful, into the 1960s, when civil rights struggles and anti-war radicalism move to center stage.
Brothers Leo and Max Land came to America from Romania in 1911, but they took different paths in pursuit of the American dream. Even as they worked together, Max sought out material things while Leo made a simple, private life for himself. Now, after the death of both brothers, Leo’s three sons - the only surviving heirs - learn that they stand to inherit a fortune. As they battle for control, they come to expose their own deeply complicated visions of success in America.
Ben Warder accepts an invitation to Harmoney Farm with abundant caution, though his skepticism may not be strong enough. The founders of the farm, an artists’ colony outside of New York City, envision a new, interdisciplinary community free from the pressures of markets and money. There, they ambitiously seek a new language of art; a new culture; a new way of thinking about creativity. Warder and the other participants soon find, however, that old human instincts cannot be so easily transformed.
Samuel Lumen has reached the hearts of millions with his fearless advocacy for liberal causes. Now he’s almost ninety years old, and the ideas he espoused as a young man, radical at the time, are woven into the political landscape of America, even as they’ve been warped and diluted by younger generations. His ideological heirs want to honor his contributions with a banquet full of pomp and circumstance, but Lumen’s not so sure he’s ready to honor his heirs in return.
The Crescent City after the war is at the heart of a rapidly changing America, and ex-sailor Jack Rodenko is caught up in a strange and shifting milieu as he tends bar at a seedy club called L’Êtoile. While struggling to build a new life, Rodenko becomes involved with a corrupt, greedy power broker, and falls in love with a striking photographer - relationships that will force him to choose between two decidedly different futures.