Born and raised in South Buffalo, New York, Bill Donohue attended St. Bonaventure University and the University of Louvain, Belgium. He became a Catholic priest in 1964 and served for ten years before leaving the priesthood and marrying in 1974. He was a New York State Commerce Commissioner and worked as a community change agent in Flint, Michigan. He and his wife Mary Alice have six daughters and a bevy of grandchildren. The story of his great grandfather, Patrick Donohue, parallels in many ways his own ragged route to selfhood.
Follow the lives of John and Patrick Donohue as they grow up in the Old First Ward in Buffalo, New York during the mid-1800s. Orphaned as children, they are sent to live with their grandmother. While John finds work and helps support the family, Patrick becomes involved with a gang and runs wild. When the Civil War breaks out, the brothers join the Union army. Follow them through the deadly battles of Grant’s Virginia campaign to Appomattox, the difficulties they face holding jobs once the war is over, their relationships with wives, children, and one another, and Patrick’s lifelong battle with the bottle. A compelling tale of two Irish Catholic men, sons of immigrants, during a tumultuous period in our nation’s rich history.