Bisbee, Arizona, queen of the western copper camps, 1917. The protagonists in a bitter strike: the Wobblies (the IWW), the toughest union in the history of the West; and Harry Wheeler, the last of the two-gun sheriffs. In this class-war western, they face each other down in the streets of Bisbee, pitting a general strike against the largest posse ever assembled.
Based on a true story, Bisbee '17 vividly re-creates a West of miners and copper magnates, bindlestiffs and scissorbills, army officers, private detectives, and determined revolutionaries. Against this backdrop runs the story of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, strike organizer from the East, caught between the worlds of her ex-husband—the Bisbee strike leader—and her new lover, an Italian anarchist from New York. As the tumultuous weeks of the strike unfold, she struggles to sort out what she really feels about both of them, and about the West itself.
Robert Houston has published nine novels in addition to Bisbee '17, including The Nation Thief and The Fourth Codex. His nonfiction has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, Mother Jones, and elsewhere. He has frequently been on the staff of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Bread Loaf School of English and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona.
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