NPR

Echoes Of Today's Unrest Run Through 'The Cold Millions'

Jess Walter's new novel an adventure tale based on actual events in the early days of the last century's labor movement — which was much wilder and bloodier than most people remember.
Source: Harper

In 1909, the Wild West was a little less wild than it used to be.

Spokane, Wash., still had enough saloons to soak the town, but there were opera houses and vaudeville theaters too. It was the unofficial capital of that corner of the West — rapidly industrializing, with a tangle of railroads and men looking for work, like the two brothers at the heart of Jess Walter's new novel, The Cold Millions. It's a adventure tale based on actual events in the early days of the labor movement.

"I always wanted to tell a story about this period when my hometown was the center of the world," Walter says. "I mean, seven railroads

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