Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Book: "Frank Norris: A Life," biography by Joseph R. McElrath Jr. and Jesse S. Crisler

New Book: 'Frank Norris: A Life,' biography by Joseph R. McElrath Jr. and Jesse S. Crisler

"Zola in San Francisco" Book Review by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON © New York Times, Jan. 1, 2006.

"About 15 miles from my farm in the central San Joaquin Valley of California, near the Kings River at the dry creek bed of Mussel Slough, on May 11, 1880, a group of farmers shot it out with railroad men, a United States marshal and some local toughs. Homesteaders had purchased mostly worthless railroad land for $2.50 an acre, improved it, and then discovered nearly a decade later that the railroad had retained title all along. Smelling profit, rail executives sought to sell the enhanced farms out from under the farmers for $25 to $35 an acre. Seven died - six of them settlers - during the failed eviction. The Southern Pacific Railroad may have had the money, the lawyers and the courts and so convicted the farmers, but they immediately became California folk icons and served only abbreviated sentences. Eventually most of the farmers got their land back. ... " [More]

Frank Norris, the subject of this new biography was the author of the muckraking book about the Southern Pacific Railroad, "The Octopus."