A STRONG CITY by Taylor Caldwell


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Chronologically, this fits into the latter part of the period covered by Dynasty of Death, while Uncle Ernest was still living, and Jules virtually in control of Barbour-Bouchard. But the story itself impinges only slightly on the fortunes of the Barbours, only in so far as Franz Stoessel of Schmidt sees fit to involve them in his scheming for more power, more money, in expanding his steel works. Taylor Caldwell has told the story of a German immigrant youth, bitter in his disillusionment, antagonistic towards the mother whose Prussianism is strong in his veins, determined to let nothing soften him, neither family nor love nor friendship nor ideals, in achieving that which he feels America holds for him, -- power and money. She handles the early years of his struggle, his rise in the works, his playing on the gropings towards labor organization, towards new ways to make better steel, exceedingly well. One cares what happens -- sees in this man, Franz, potentials for good and evil. And then --suddenly -- the situation seems to get out of hand, and the last third of the book proved a disappointment, though never boring. Better written than The Eagles Gather, it lacks the power that made that book override its structural faults. Even so, the romance of Franz and Irmgard -- told against the pattern of early American industry -- is worth reading.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1942
Publisher: Scribner