Review: Calumet “K”

Calumet “K”
by Samuel Merwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not surprised that Calumet K pushed all of Ayn Rand’s buttons: strong, hard-working, honest man Charlie Bannon achieves great things – construction of a two-million-bushel grain elevator – despite the interference of mediocre men.

But that’s not the reason to read it. Calumet K is a fascinating view into labor, language & manners, circa 1901. I liked the details of construction, the interesting slang, and the incredibly restrained way the characters interacted (when they weren’t assaulting each other, that is).

1901 was certainly different, but it’s mildly amusing how some things haven’t changed, a century later: management still sets insane deadlines & is a bit skimpy with praise when they’re met.

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