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Now You Can Own The VHS Tape of
Patrick Smith's
Angel City

 

 

 

 

What people say about Angel City ...


"The migrant labor camps in Florida (and elsewhere) have been waiting many years for a hurricane of a novel like Angel City to lay bare the tolerated degradation of large numbers of men, women, and children. Patrick Smith has produced a chilling story of the heart-rending life of a mountaineer West virginia family finding themselves helplessly enmeshed in the existence they encountered in a South Florida migrant labor camp."

- Erskine Caldwell


"This is a story that should have been told a long time ago by someone who recognized the need to tell it. Patrick Sith had the guts to tell it, and to tell it very well indeed. I salute him.

- Richard Boone

 

Angel City

Angel City Gate
Smith in a photo of the gate at the set of the movie, Angel City.

In the mid-1970s, after reading a newspaper article about the plight of migrant workers in south Florida, he found an issue that would absorb his spare time for several years. The newspaper told about a migrant crew chief who had enslaved his workers for more than two years, who whouldn't pay them or let them out of the camp, and who beat them regularly. The police finally arrested the crew chief and took him to court, but had to release him when none of the workers, all of whom were scared of him, would testify against him.

Ralph Waite
Smith with actor Ralph Waite on the set of Angel City.

Alarmed that such migrant camps still existed in the 1970s, Smith went to Miami and read through old newspapers, where he found a number of stories about migrants being enslaved by the crew chiefs, often without the knowledge of the owners of the fields. Smith then began spending his weekends and vacations doing what he calls "physical research." He would don scruffy clothes, let his beard grow, and show up in Homestead to join migrants picking tomatoes or okra or cucumbers or squash, whatever was in season.

Earning a meager $35 a week, sleeping in buggy hovels and trying to keep out of the frequent knife fights, he made mental notes of the sights and smells and noises. Apparently no one ever suspected that the quiet fellow with the Mississippi drawl was actually a writer.

After spending more than a year doing "research" for the novel, which he entitled Angel City, Smith wrote it in just a few weeks, so filled was he of the sordid conditions of the camps and fields. When asked why he wanted to write such a novel, Smith replies, "The first step toward eliminating injustice is to expose it, and this was my primary goal in writing this novel."

Angel City VHS CoverAngel City
follows the course of the Teeters, a West Virginia family come to Florida to better their lives. What they find is degradation in a migrant labor camp. His expose of those camps in Angel City served its intended purpose: to bring about change. Though this novel served as a social statement, it also works as a well-told social story, a work of literary art.

The movie based on Angel City, a CBS "Movie of the Week" starring Ralph Waite, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Warren, Mitch Ryan, Robert MacNaughton and Paul Winfield, brought the story of the Teeters and the reality of migrant labor camp conditions to an even wider audience.

As interest increases in the novels of Patrick Smith, literary historians are sure to place this one near the top rank of his output.

Angel City $10.95 Softbound, 184 pages 

Not sure if you'll like it? You can read the entire 1st chapter of Angel City right now, for free. Click here!

You can also get Angel City on Kindle and on NOOK.

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