REVIEW POTPOURRI – Book: Big Trouble; Conductor: Leopold Stokowski; TV: Death and Other Details

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Big Trouble

Anthony Lukas

A 1998 history book, Big Trouble, by Anthony Lukas (1933-1998) is a massive 875 pages of compulsively fascinating reading centered on the 1905 assassination of Idaho Governor Frank Steu­nenberg (1861-1905) who was originally elected via support from organized labor but then declared martial law when one mine was destroyed by more radical union elements. Tensions already being high between mining corporations and workers, Steunenberg remained a controversial figure.

A bomb was rigged in the entrance gate of the governor’s house and exploded when he tried to open it, killing him instantly. The Pinkerton Detective Agency investigation centered on a dynamiter Harry Orchard who told of being hired by Wild Bill Haywood, founder of the Industrial Workers of the World and an instigator of numerous labor battles reaching from the Western states to New England.

The resulting arrests and trials were a major media circus across the country. Lukas also wrote about progressive groups around the country and the endless struggles between haves and have nots, resulting in even more fascinating reading, particularly in the vignettes on the individual personalities .

Even though Lukas’s agent felt the book was more than ready for publication by 1997, the author wanted to provide every possible detail, which would have resulted in an unmanageable length, and his frustration at not being able to do so resulted in depression and suicide by hanging in 1998 at the age of 65.
Despite these tragic circumstances, this book remains a major contribution to 20th century American history in its dealing with issues still pertinent.

lsewhere Lukas wrote of his mother committing suicide when he was eight years old, of his father contracting tuberculosis and being sent to a sanitorium , and of himself and his brother shipped off to boarding school and of feeling totally alone in the world . These traumas were alluded to in the following quote:

“All writers are, to one extent or another, damaged people. Writing is a way of repairing ourselves.”

Leopold Stokowski

Leopold Stokowski

Conductor Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) left hundreds of recordings over a 60 year period from the World War One acoustic era to 1970s four channel stereo cassettes and covered a massive amount of repertoire .

One fine RCA lp from the early 50s features Stoky directing studio session musicians in a Symphony by the unknown Roger Goeb and Bela Bartok’s Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion. Both pieces have a very colorful combination of lyricism and slightly abrasive dissonance .

Death and Other Details

Mandy Patinkin

Violett Beane

A brand new 2024 Hulu series, Death and Other Details, stars the very good Mandy Patinkin and Violett Beane as two detectives investigating the brutal murder of a wealthy tourist on a luxury liner in the Mediterranean Sea. Everybody on the cruise is of course a suspect. What makes the series compelling so far in its first two available episodes is the quirky characterization of each individual and other details. The other cast members, all previously unfamiliar, do outstanding work.






Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!

If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?

The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.

To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *