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Bisbee '17
By Robert Houston
287 pp. / 5.50 in x 8.50 in / 1999
Paper (978-0-8165-1939-2)
Related Interest
  - Western Americana / Regional Interest
  - Fiction

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
Mr. Houston disclaims scrupulous historical accuracy. But the essence of the scenario—the 'deportation'—is an ugly fact, and he brings it excitingly to life.

—New York Times Book Review

Houston's prose as he details these events is graphic and fluid. The story he tells, blending factual participants with fictional characters, is an example of history in fiction at its best.

—Arizona Daily Star

[A] highly charged, absorbing novel . . . Houston uses his literary skills to maximum advantage to create a masterful, moving and intensely involving account of a chilling, ugly chapter in American and Arizona history.

—Santa Cruz Valley Sun

A vivid, carefully imagined reconstruction of what the times were like for ordinary Arizonans in the age of labor agitation and big-mining power.

—Tucson Weekly

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.

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