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The Richest Hill on Earth

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In this captivating historical novel, six-time Spur Award winner Richard S. Wheeler turns his storyteller’s eye to a clash of towering ambitions in the American West, when the Copper Kings of Butte, Montana, wrestled each other for control of both the “richest hill on earth” and Montana’s fledgling government.

The city of Butte looks like a cancerous mélange of smoky mine b
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Forge Books (first published December 6th 2011)
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My review from the Missoula Independent:

For wealth inequality, political scandals and plain seediness, there were few cities that could top late 20th century Butte. Six-time Spur Award winner and author of around 50 previous novels (!), Richard S. Wheeler has written an un-idealized chronicle of Butte in The Richest Hill on Earth, choosing a fiery era to scrutinize one of the roughest cities on any kind of map: a dreamscape for extravagant capitalists and something close to a nightmare for miner
This is a novel for every reader who wanted Deadwood to go on indefinitely. In The Richest Hill on Earth, Montana writer Richard Wheeler turns his particular storytelling skills to an account of the copper mining town, Butte, at the turn of the last century. Here there are familiar names: William Andrews Clark and the other copper kings as they dig fabulous fortunes from a mountain slope near the Continental Divide. And there are the many who do the digging, as well as those scratching out a liv ...more
No main character and few to even like. People's lives rather than a plot or action. Probably a pretty accurate glimpse of life in a company town and western state politics of the time. Where did we ever get the idea that newspapers are (should be? were ever?) objective?! Women certainly had it rough in mining towns. In many ways, it's a wonder anyone got through it at all.
Surprisingly bloodless for a semi-fictionalized account of the War of the Copper Kings, The Richest Hill on Earth reads more like a history textbook than a novel--which is normally fine for this American history buff, but I can read about Butte in other, better books.
Dennis Stuart
Too much politics. As a resident and a blue collar worker that runs into the old history on a daily basis there was a good glimpse of the way labor skilled or unskilled was portrayed and is still to this day. This town is rich in history.
Jan 06, 2014 Jonna marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Rona 12/13
Carl Peterson
Very good historical novel about the copper mines in Montana. Makes you wonder, now I want to go visit Butte and some of the historical sites.
After a vacation in Montana, a couple of years ago, this book explains a lot! The author does a good job of mixing fact and fiction.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Richard S. (Shaw) Wheeler was born in Milwaukee in 1935 and grew up in nearby Wauwatosa.
More about Richard S. Wheeler...
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