the railroad impact on the farmers of the san joaquin valley,CA. Bribes,gun battle in open fields. multitude of characters bring death, disalussion, financial and moral ruin. Social drama. A great book to read more than once.
Written at the end of the 19th century, this work is an American realist novel, with a glance forward at the political muckraker novels that were soon to take over American literature. The characters are not fully realized, in fact they are more symbols than characters. Norris seems to try to make up for this by giving them detailed physical descriptions that he repeats far too often. There is both hope and despair in this novel, and enough forward movement of plot to keep the reader's interest. It's a classic, and a lot of people read it for classes, but it is not one of those books that it is a chore to finish.
Mild recommendation for average readers. Strongly recommended for anyone who likes "Sister Carrie" or "An American Tragedy" or "The Rise of Silas Lapham."