From the author of "Common Ground" -- one of the most acclaimed books of recent years -- comes a grand narrative of the United States as it charged, full of hope and trepidation, into the twentieth century. Beginning with a murder on a snowy night in a small Idaho town, "Big Trouble" brings to life the astonishing case that ultimately engaged President Theodore Roosevelt, and the politics and passions of an entire nation at century's turn. After the state's former governor, Frank Steunenberg, is blown up by a bomb at his garden gate, America's most celebrated detective, Pinkerton James McParland, takes over the investigation. His daring plan to kidnap union leader "Big Bill" Haywood from Colorado to stand trial in Idaho sets the stage for a memorable courtroom confrontation between the flamboyant prosecutor, Senator William Borah, and the young defense attorney, Clarence Darrow. In a kind of nonfiction "Ragtime, Lukas paints a vivid portrayal of the tumultuous first decade of the 20th century. Summoning an astonishing cast of characters from all walks of life who found their way to the trial or its environs that summer -- from the popular young actress Ethel Barrymore to Teddy Roosevelt -- "Big Trouble" explodes onto the national stage, collectively outlining the shape of the American century to come.
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In June 1997, just months before publication of his latest book, Big Trouble, Pulitzer-winning journalist J. Anthony Lukas killed himself. He was 64 and, according to many accounts, had finally surrendered to a lifelong despair over what he saw as his inability to meet his own exceedingly high literary standards.
Yet in reading Big Trouble, a gripping account of murder and politics in turn-of-the-century Idaho, one can't help but think that Lukas was far too hard on himself. His last work is a well-told tale of the struggle between labor and capitalists in the West at a time when entire state legislatures were effectively owned by corporate interests and America teetered on the brink of open class warfare.
The story begins with the 1905 assassination of Frank Steunenberg, an ex- governor of Idaho. His murder was rumored to be the work of vengeful labor bosses, and Pinkerton detective James McParland tracked Wobbly organizer Big Bill Haywood all the way to Colorado to bring him back to stand trial, where he and two other men were defended by a team of lawyers that included Clarence Darrow.
During the writing of Common Ground, his account of Boston's painful process of school desegregation in the 1970s, Lukas became intrigued by what he called race's "twin issue": class. "The more I delved into Boston's crisis," he writes in the foreword to Big Trouble, "the more I found the conundrums of race and class inextricably intertwined." Class simply wasn't as overt an issue as race in contemporary society. What Lukas needed was a time and place where class and class struggle were open and visible. He found it in Idaho in 1905, a time of change and uncertainty, when any notion of a large American middle class was still a distant dream. In order to make this era comprehensible to modern readers, Lukas has gone great lengths in Big Trouble to re-create the entire social, political, and economic context of the murder trial. Here are the histories not simply of mining, railroads, and unions, but of detectives, "modern" journalism, baseball, land speculation, and frontier-town boosterism. In its capacity to translate historical facts into an engrossing, insightful read, Big Trouble stands as a final testament to Lukas's well-deserved reputation as a top reporter of America's growing pains.About the Author:
J. Anthony Lukas won two Pulitzer Prizes: the first for reporting at The New York Times, where he served for a decade as a foreign and domestic correspondent; the second for Common Ground, which also brought him the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
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Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Like New. Book Condition: Like New. Codice libro della libreria 97806715762642.0