Franklyn Shivs is a Wisconsin farm boy with a mind too vigorous, too full of desire, for a life on the farm. Leaving home as a young man, he heads south to turn-of-the-century Chicago, a city untamed and turbulent enough to challenge each of his dreams and talents. There he becomes a newspaper reporter, rising through the masthead and learning the back alleys, the tavern manners, the corruption and conflict that underlie the city's grandeur. Dispatched to Northern Michigan to cover the bloody copper mine strike of 1913, he falls in love with the strike's most militant leader, the estranged wife of one of the miners. Their affair forces him to choose between principle and passion, a decision likely to affect the outcome of the strike and the future of the labor movement. With careening, virtuosic prose, Bruce Olds brings to full-blooded life a watershed moment in American history through the experience of a distinctly American protagonist.