Michael's Reviews > Red Harvest

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
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's review
Aug 09, 2007

it was amazing

Militant high brows and low brows agree, this is one of America's coolest novels. Dirty, violent, hardboiled and yes, every character swigs down cheap booze in every chapter. But Red Harvest will always defy the cliche's, and its not just because it is the source for most of them. On its surface, Red Harvest is a detective story (although most of the reviews on this site think its about Yojimbo) but what its really about is Fascism. Dashiell Hammett may be the only great detective writer to actually have worked as a detective. And as a Pinkerton Dash was offered five grand by the Anaconda Copper Company to murder Frank Little, an organizer for the IWW in 1916. Dash refused, Little was lynched by masked goons, and Red Harvest emerged as Dash turned Left. This book is about what happens when monopoly capitalism - here imagined as the mine owner in a small mining town known as Personville - turns to gangsters to protect him/itself from rebellious workers. Well, the gangsters break the strike(notice that there are no miners in this book), but decide they dont want to give the town back to the rich old mine owner. What you are left with is a power struggle between the evil and the violent. In the end, the nameless company man, the continental-op deals out justice his own, personal way.
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