Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Cold Millions

Union. I didn’t know a thing about the free speech riots in Spokane, Washington in 1909 until I read Jess Walter’s novel titled, The Cold Millions. The Industrial Workers of the World are trying to get local miners to form a union, and they are met with violence as they agitate for change. Brothers Gregory (Gig) and Ryan Dolan are caught up in the conflict. Real historical characters Spokane Police Chief John Sullivan plays a part, as does labor organize Helen Gurley Flynn. Walter’s prose is finely written, all the characters complex and interesting, and the parallels to our contemporary time are unavoidable. The cold millions of people struggling for a living wage and safe working conditions in Spokane in the last century appear in an updated form in our own cities and towns. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Cold Millions from

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