Defending Billy Ryan Summary
George V. Higgins

Everything you need to understand or teach Defending Billy Ryan by George V. Higgins.

  • Defending Billy Ryan Summary & Study Guide

Defending Billy Ryan Summary

The social concerns of Defending Billy Ryan are familiar ones for readers of Higgins's fiction: Ambitious prosecutors pursue a case against Billy Ryan, the good-old-boy Commissioner of Public Works for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The realpolitik of the American legal system, good-old-boy networks, political peculations, Massachusetts, and Irish-American families — these are Higgins's perenniel concerns. He handles them here with accustomed ease and expertise.

The central theme of Defending Billy Ryan, again as in most of Higgins's fiction, is power. He is fascinated by the ways men (and sometimes women) jostle and maneuver for advantage in their relations with other people. The struggle may occur in the local competition of politics or the formal arena of the courtroom, or in the intimate spaces of a marriage or even a conversation. But Higgins's characters seem always in pursuit of some step up on their fellows...

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Study Pack

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