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Howard McEwen is a writer living in Bellevue, Kentucky. He pays the bills by running a boutique investment advisory practice in Cincinnati, Ohio specializing in working with middle income, middle-class families and individuals.
on Jan. 25, 2012 :
Set against the backdrop of the Kentucky Bluegrass and the birth of the American progressive movement, author Howard McEwen spins a turn-of-the-century tale of one man's lust for power and his willingness to destroy any who stood in his way.
William Goebel, the son of German immigrants, rises from poverty to political office in Kentucky, driven by what Nietzsche called "der Wille zur Macht". The will to power. McEwen's portrayal of the historical Goebel is of a man who'll stop at nothing to bend fate to his iron will, a man filled with contempt for those he considers weaker than himself, for those he manipulates to do his bidding. In many ways, Goebel is the classic progressive.
Juxtaposed against the political career of William Goebel is the parallel story of the shadowy mountain man who will take his life. Two men from separate walks of life--on a collision course. The result is a gripping look into the politics of late nineteenth-century America.
There are moments when the book becomes weighed down by the details of the political process, and a couple times I had to page back to remind myself of the chronology, but those are minor points. The end product of McEwen's first foray into fiction is one of the most interesting historical novels that I've read in a while.
Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the period, and anyone trying to discern how we arrived at our current political situation.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)