STRAW BOSS by Stephen Longstreet


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Written in a heavy, thudding prose meant to simulate the thinking of its Polish hero, this is the rise and fall of union organizer Mike Brant (Mikoloj Brandicki) of the Drovers and Wheelmen Union (DWU). A Korean vet, Mike is dragooned into the DWU by Terry Munday, a labor wench whom he eventually marries. He's being used as a patsy bemuse the DWU expects their pickets to be mobbed by anti-labor goons and needs some heads to be dubbed for publicity purposes. Indeed, Mike's head is whacked open, and he winds up on the front page as a victim. Slowly, at first through Terry, he works his way up the union ladder until he's in the Jimmy Hoffa slot: accountable for a billion and a half dollars of misused and lost funds and being called before a federal commission to testify about his dealings with the crime families. Meanwhile, Terry leaves him, taking their son, and becomes a sodden alcoholic, and he takes up with Julia Brooks, ""one of the ten best dressed women in the Capitol."" Supporting him is his brother Martin, a lawyer who knows how to fight off the Feds. But Martin is killed in a strange airplane disaster, and on the morning that Mike is about to testify about his crime connections, he goes out to start his Caddy, switches on the ignition and. . . . Not for the fans of Longstreet's zippier efforts, like The Pedlocks--too predictable and clunky.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam