Sweet Thunder

( 3 )

Overview


A beloved character brings the power of the press to 1920s Butte, Montana, in this latest from the best storyteller of the West

In the winter of 1920, a quirky bequest draws Morrie Morgan back to Butte, Montana, from a year-long honeymoon with his bride, Grace. But the mansion bestowed by a former boss upon the itinerant charmer, who debuted in Doig’s bestselling The Whistling Season, promises to be less windfall than money pit. And the town itself, with its polyglot army of ...

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Sweet Thunder

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Overview


A beloved character brings the power of the press to 1920s Butte, Montana, in this latest from the best storyteller of the West

In the winter of 1920, a quirky bequest draws Morrie Morgan back to Butte, Montana, from a year-long honeymoon with his bride, Grace. But the mansion bestowed by a former boss upon the itinerant charmer, who debuted in Doig’s bestselling The Whistling Season, promises to be less windfall than money pit. And the town itself, with its polyglot army of miners struggling to extricate themselves from the stranglehold of the ruthless Anaconda Copper Mining Company, seems—like the couple’s fast-diminishing finances—on the verge of implosion.

These twin dilemmas catapult Morrie into his new career as editorialist for the Thunder, the fledgling union newspaper that dares to play David to Anaconda’s Goliath. Amid the clatter of typewriters, the rumble of the printing presses, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Morrie puts his gift for word-slinging to work. As he pursues victory for the miners, he discovers that he is  enmeshed in a deeply personal battle as well—the struggle to win lasting love for himself.

Brilliantly capturing an America roaring into a new age, Sweet Thunder is another great tale from a classic American novelist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Butte, Montana in the 1920s meant Anaconda Copper Mining Company squeezing the town, its residents, and the land for everything they've got. Doig (The Bartender's Tale) brings back the charismatic Morrie Morgan, a walking encyclopedia prone to trouble last seen in 2010's Work Song, in this stirring tale of greed, corruption, and the power of past sins. After a yearlong honeymoon with his wife, Grace, Morgan and his new bride reluctantly return to Butte when they inherit one of the town's mansions, which they'll share with irascible librarian Sam Sandison. Recognizing Morgan's proficiency as a wordsmith, the union men who want to see Anaconda gone start an independent newspaper. Morgan pens the opinion column in the Thunder under the pseudonym Pluvius. But not only is Anaconda not going down without a fight—the company's own paper, the Butte Daily Post, enlists famed Chicago reporter Cedric "Cutlass" Cartwright to counter Pluvius—Morgan's somewhat unsavory past comes back to haunt him, putting great strain on his marriage. Doig's attention to detail, both historical and concerning characters of his own creation, is as sharp as ever. Long-time fans will recognize familiar names from previous novels and readers both seasoned and new will fall under the spell of Doig's Big Sky Country. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Morrie Morgan is back, accompanied by our favorite loopy characters from Doig's acclaimed Whistling Season and Work Song. It's 1920, and after a whirlwind honeymoon, Morrie and wife, Grace, return to Butte, MT, where despotic power resides under one mighty thumb, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. Morrie and Grace start life in an outsized mansion, thanks to their benefactor and new boarder Samuel Sandison, cattle king, vigilante, and city librarian. To pay for the upkeep, Morrie begins working for a start-up newspaper, Thunder, backed by Jared Evans, leader of the mine workers and now a state senator. Writing salty, hard-nosed editorials, Morrie wages battle on behalf of the miners for fair wages and safe working conditions with the rival Post, Anaconda's mouthpiece. But big trouble follows Morrie. He's mistaken for the local bootlegger, the Chicago gambling mob sends a thug to shoot him, he's up against a muckraking journalist imported from Chicago by the Post, and his beloved Grace leaves him when she discovers his Chicago past. But Morrie remains steadfast in his mission. VERDICT With a master storyteller's instincts and a dollop of wry humor, Doig evokes a perfect landscape of the past with a cast of memorable characters. A treasure of a novel.—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Palisade, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Morrie Morgan returns (Work Song, 2010, etc.) to again confront the evil Anaconda Copper Mining Company, as well as several unwelcome reminders of his checkered past. Just back in Butte after a yearlong honeymoon with Grace, who's temporarily given up her boardinghouse but not her suspicions that her irrepressible spouse isn't much of a provider, Morrie needs to find a job fast. Not only has he nearly run through his winnings from a savvy bet on the fixed 1919 World Series, but he has an expensive mansion to maintain; wealthy cattleman-turned-librarian Sam Sandison hands over his home in an upper-crust neighborhood sardonically known as Horse Thief Row with the proviso that Morrie has to pay for its upkeep. So Morrie goes to work as the editorial writer for a new newspaper funded by the miners' union to counter Anaconda's propaganda for unfettered capitalism. Many, many complications ensue--this is Doig's most elaborately (and occasionally improbably) plotted novel--but they are less interesting than the marvelously atmospheric portrait of the bygone newspaper trade and an engaging cast of characters sketched with the author's customary vigor. Among the familiar figures are careworn union leader Jared Evans, devising strategy from his new post as state senator; and the semireformed street kid known as Russian Famine who leads Morrie to a gut-clenching climax high atop the mineshafts' towering headframes. Unscrupulous but gifted columnist Cedric "Cutthroat" Cartwright, recruited from Chicago by Anaconda to bandy editorials with Morrie, makes a colorful addition who gets a highly satisfying comeuppance. It's mostly a lighthearted romp, right down to the striking likeness to Montana's "number one bootlegger" that enables Morrie finally to make sure the Chicago mob won't dare come after him. Yet Doig also quietly conveys the injustices and cruelties of American history, particularly in the realistically depressing and temporary resolution of the union's struggle with Anaconda. An enjoyable change-up from The Bartender's Tale (2012) and welcome evidence that Doig, in his 70s, is more prolific and entertaining than ever.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594487347
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/20/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 819,570
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Doig

Often called the dean of writers about the American West, Ivan Doig is the author of such national bestsellers as The Whistling Season and The Bartender's Tale. His work has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, German, and Finnish, and his honors include seven regional booksellers awards, the Evans Biography Prize, and the Wallace Stegner Award, among others. He lives in Seattle.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    NURSERY

    NURSERY

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Radar...12-28-2013

    I have not read this book yet. Is there nothing that can be done with these IDIOTS and their not so private conversations?
    The least the note passers could do is to award the novel
    5 STARS...RADAR...12-28-2013...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Gjukg

    Nnvjvkgkgjj

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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