Synopses & Reviews
In Tracy Daugherty's third novel, childhood innocence and political ambition meet just prior to the First World War in the person of Harry Shaughnessy, an Oklahoma farmer' son. Gifted with a booming speaking voice and a charismatic presence, the boy learns the socialist credo from his father, who takes him on the roadfrom laborers' camps to county fairs to Oklahoma Cityto spread the people's gospel to farmers, miners, and oil workers. Along the way young Harry encounters other socialist crusadersEugene V. Debs, Oscar Ameringer, and the dynamic red-haired feminist Kate O'Hare.
Daugherty seamlessly integrates these historical figures into the compelling fictionalized tale of his own real-life grandfather's idealistic struggle for American workers and of his inevitable disillusionment with the defeat of the socialist cause. With an apt and unobtrusive use of the details of another era, Daugherty creates historical images as vivid as contemporary television images of Oklahoma City rescue workers cradling wounded children outside the bomb-devastated Murrah building.