Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and "witches." Among the inhabitants of Dogtown are Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her rural brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of a very strange aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whose race denies him everything. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself and inspires those around her to become more generous and tolerant themselves. This is a story of hardship and resilience - and an extraordinary re-creation of an untold chapter in early American life. With a keen ear for language and profound compassion for her characters, Diamant has written her most moving and powerful novel.