Saturday, May 10, 2014

An Interesting Mix

This is the latest Zane Grey novel that I have read. I will forever think of BC Ferries when I see this book or this post because that is what I did to pass the time on my way over in early May.
This novel is an interesting mix of early 1900's western, (written in 1924) adventure, and romance. The guy gets the girl, so now the romance part is over. The western part is all about the wheat growing in central Oregon and southern Washington states. The adventure includes some intrigue and violence on the farm, but is highlighted in the hero's trip to France as a soldier in the first World War.
Zane Grey is a descriptive writer and he excels here in both describing the wheat fields as they ripen in the fall, and in his depictions of the horrors of trench warfare in the Flanders Fields of WWI.
The aspect of the story which I found most intriguing was the historical accuracy of the incursion of the IWW into the forests and farms of the Pacific Northwest before and during the war. I was not aware of this part of history that took place so close to where I live and when I researched it, found it most interestingly to be true.  The International Workers of the World were a militant union organisation that were rooted in Europe and came to America basically to disrupt their industries through union intimidation, violence and sabotage. In this particular story, they would burn the wheat crops of the wealthy farmers in an effort to "eliminate capital" (destroy capitalism) and to harm the ability of America to feed its citizens and its soldiers.
The hero, Kurt Dorn, has a German father who never fully became American so sympathised with Germany during the war. This was a demon for the very patriotic young man who felt he had to go to war to prove something. It almost cost him his life.
Overall, the story is interesting and I learned something while being entertained by a good plot and some good writing.
3 1/2 stars 

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