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American Red

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The Great American Century begins, the modern world roars to life, Capitalists flaunt greed and seize power, Socialists and labor unions flex their violent will, and an extraordinary true story of love and sacrifice unfolds.

In his critically acclaimed debut novel, Fortunate Son, David Marlett introduced readers to a fresh take on historical fiction--the historical legal th
Paperback, 535 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by Storyplant (first published July 2019)
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Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Marlett can write. This is a bit of a tome when it comes to books but I barely noticed. This is because I was swept into the story and by the characters. They just "popped" off the pages of the book. Readers of historical fiction; especially the Wild West will want to check out this book.

I live in the Western part of the state, where mines did play a very important part of the history. For Example, Denver Colorado is about three in a half to four hours away from where I live. So, for me thi
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big Bill Heywood was a pioneer of the American labor movement who built the Western Federation of Miners into a powerful force in Colorado and neighboring states dominated by the capitalist owners of the extraction industries. He was also a radical with socialist tendencies who believed that the bosses were violent thugs that could only be countered by an equal or greater amount of violence, including the bombing of mines, and in late 1905, the home of the governor of Idaho, who Heywood felt had ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
American Red is an incredibly powerful, touching novel that you will not be able to put down.
The novel centres around a dark time in our history, where money and power were placed above the lives of men, women and children. Where good people suffered, died and lived in poverty while you had others living in extreme wealth and privilege. Where there were no rights to protect workers, no breaks, no minimum or equal pay and no minimum age to work. Where the focus was on profit, even if it meant sa
Just another reader
This absolutely brilliant historical fiction tale grips you right on page 1 and doesn't let you go until you finish the book. Set in early 20th century, the book revolves around numerous facets and happenings of that era. I totally loved the way that Marlett handled the Boise trial. The book has a bold take on the occurrences, and Marlett handles the power that fiction endows him with, by weaving truth in and out, and tweaking incidents where he deems fit. The result is a gem of a book, that is ...more
This book started off with a bang and just never-let-up! Really excellent historical fiction, with spies/double agents, espionage, many-layered trickery from all sides, and action galore. An exciting and suspenseful thriller out of America’s turbulent early 20th century. Fascinating characters and a complex plot left me completely satisfied. Loved it!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, The Story Plant, for an ARC in exchange for a review (and all of my reviews are honest. Why lie?)
Meredith Rankin
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, netgalley
Fascinating story, based on actual historical events.

What works for me:

1. The history
This is a well-researched, heavily-detailed novel. Marlett knows his subject matter. He has a gift for making history come alive. The opening plunges us into the conflict between two parties. One, the ruthless mine owners, who use capitalism and patriotism to justify their merciless treatment of their employees. Two, the equally ruthless union miners, who use the owners’ wrongdoings to justify their own mer
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
American Red is unlike any historical-based book I've ever read! I love history (in particular, turn of the century in America) because of how it shows our fast-paced growth. While a hundred, or even two hundred years, seems like a long time ago, it is really not too far of a leap. Considering that this is based on real-life events, I felt myself being drawn in and excited to be pulled back into a tumultuous time period. The power struggles are still something we see being fought for today. My h ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, ebooks
​American Red is based on factual events. It tells the stories of conflict between Labour Unions and business owners. It shows the frictions between those who have everything and those who have nothing. It manages to do all this in an entertaining manner that sweeps the reader along with the tide of history.

This book is a historical legal thriller. Knowing it was based on real people and real events I could hardly resist find out more about them all before finishing the book. I managed to do so
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt a little discouraged when I first saw this book. It’s huge. How was I ever going to get this all read?

It took a minute or two to get into it, but soon this book held me prisoner. I didn’t care if anyone needed to eat or wear clean clothes or whatever. I just wanted to keep reading.

I always learn so much from historical novels. This one really brought the Pinkertons to life for me. I got lost in the story and forgot it was based on real life experiences.

That changed when I reached the end
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been waiting for David Marlett's American Red since I first learned about its undertaking in 2014. Living in Idaho I knew a bit about the biggest legal challenge ever prosecuted in this State. But, I learned so much more about the whole ordeal through the well-researched and well-written book. Not only do we get a glimpse of the characters, but the complexity of the legal system, the corruption of big business, and the role of the Pinkertons in this historical event. This book met my expe ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully written historical novel.

The subject matter (trial of the Western Federation of Miners head, "Big Bill Haywood" was not usually something I was interested in, so it took a while for me to get in to the story. It was billed a little differently and I thought there would be less "gun slinging, Western-style" feel to it, or else I probably wouldn't have originally read it.

However, the last 15% of the book really picked up the pace and as the legal drama played out it became a lot more
Elisabeth Redding
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m not ordinarily a fan of historical fiction, but this book was definitely an exception to the rule. ‘American Red’ offers a fascinating depiction of the multi-layered lives (and moral gray areas) of the real people behind both the capitalist and the American socialist movements at the beginning of the 20th century - and David Marlett’s writing keeps you actively wanting to know what happened next. At times it was a little hard to keep up with the number of different characters introduced, but ...more
Erica (The Literary Apothecary)
Union history buffs will embrace the exploratory nature of this literary representation of one man who reverse engineers the courtroom for his benefit. The characters are remarkably well-developed. Along with excellent characterization, Marlett makes the various scenes feel relevant and real.

In spite of its length, the narrative flows effortlessly. With the short crisp chapters, Marlett skillfully captures the essence of the bureaucratic turbulence, while still portraying facts under the guise o
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling story told by an amazing storyteller! I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the early 20th century world David created. This novel is a well crafted web of characters' plots and collaborations and full of intricate character developments. Would love to see this developed into a mini-series! Highly recommend to anyone looking for an intense historic adventure. ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction
Fascinating tale of early twentieth century; Clarence Darrow (America's lawyer) defending "Big Bill" Haywood. The wild west was certainly still wild. Didn't know much about these times, the Pinkertons, early unions. Marlett did quite a bit of research putting this together. He did get a bit repetitive at times, but overall, an interesting read. ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
American Red is a great read! I loved that this book had so much historical background while bringing to life the political environment of the time; and still weaving a great story of espionage and love triangles, with a legal twist! Wow! American Red would make a great movie or mini-series!
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The danger with Historical Fiction is that you have to keep your eyes on the "fiction" part and not assume this is a recording of historical facts. In his defense, the author never makes any attempt to say that "this is what happened." While the actual characters are real, some of the facts were contrived to make a better story. But as the old saying goes ... "never let facts get in the way of a good story."

The book is set in the first few years of the 20th century and the battles between organi
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is historical fiction on an epic scale. Marlett has created a very readable account of a turbulent time in American history. I had heard of the Pinkerton detectives but had no idea how political the agency was until reading this story. I also learned a great deal about the beginnings of the mine workers' union, its leadership, and the violence involved. Marlett has done his research and provides many details about the time, such as with automobiles and cigarettes.

Readers who enjoy lea
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you haven’t read Lukas BIG TROUBLE, this fictional treatment of Idaho governor Steunenberg’s assassination might amuse. However, the editing was so bad that I stopped midway having forgiven dropped articles and prepositions which were inferable in contexts; finding reference to Idaho’s “Shake River” (sic) however was an unforgettable flaw that drove me screaming to my library in search of an author who actually gave a fecal mass about the language.
Rose A.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So interesting.

Factual and informative history about real people who made a big difference in the events that touched their lives. Wonderful dialog used to open up the story and develop the characters. I waited a long time for this book to become available. I hope Mr. Marlett writes more.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When well written history makes a better story than fiction, you know that you have a winner! American Red is such a book! Although this book is lengthy, it does not bog down as it unwinds the complex events of Idaho history at the turn of the 20th century. This engaging page turner is full of larger than life characters, marvelous descriptions, and a story that truly transports the reader through time. As a book seller, this is my “go to” handsell!!!
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it

I received a complimentary copy.

While I would not consider it to be family friendly or up to date with some of the verbiage, this book does put to light some of the older times. I feel like most of what the author writes is still happening in today's world. It is really for more older ages and can lead to some very bold discussions.
Bruin Mccon
DNF at 2%. I have no idea if this book is good but the epub format from the library just killed it for me. What a pain to read that way!
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James Shugart
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Jul 19, 2019
David Marlett
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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David Marlett is an award-winning storyteller and writer of historical fiction, primarily historical legal thrillers bringing alive the fascinating people and events leading to major historical trials. His first such novel, FORTUNATE SON, became a critically acclaimed, national bestseller in 2014. The late Vincent Bugliosi (#1 New York Times bestselling author of Helter Skelter) said David is ...more

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