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Calumet 'K'

Samuel Merwin

Book Overview: 

"A novel, with several elements of rather unusual interest. As a tale, it is swift, simple, and absorbing, and one does not willingly put it down until it is finished. It has to do with grain-elevator business, with railways, strikes, and commercial and financial matters generally, woven skilfully into a human story of love." --The Commercial Advertiser

"'Calumet "K"' is a novel that is exciting and absorbing, but not the least bit sensational. It is the story of a rush.... The book is an unusually good story; one that shows the inner workings of the labor union, and portrays men who are the bone and sinew of the earth."--The Toledo Blade.

"The heroine in this case is the hero's stenographer; but the action of the story grows out of the attempt of rival capitalists and grain men to balk the building of a grain elevator by a set date." --The Burlington Free Press

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e manager that the time had come to yield as gracefully as possible.

"He means it this time," said Sloan, when he and Bannon were left alone at the Blake City hotel to talk things over.

"Yes, I think he does. If he don't, I'll come up here again and have a short session with him."


It was nearly five o'clock when Bannon appeared at the elevator on Thursday. He at once sought Peterson.

"Well, what luck did you have?" he asked. "Did you get my message?"

"Your message? Oh, sure. You said the cribbing was coming down by boat. I don't see how, though. Ledyard ain't on the lake."

"Well, it's coming just the same, two hundred thousand feet of it. What have you done about it?"

"Oh, we'll be ready for it, soon's it gets here."

They were standing at the north side of the elevator near the paling fence which bounded the C. & S. C. right of way. Bannon looked across t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is where Ayn Rand got her inspiration. Or the story she ripped off - you decide.

Good, short book. A bit of lingo I wasn't familiar with. The main character forms the archetype for Ayn Rand's "Get shit done" characters. The difference is that in Calumet K, the character is romanticized, but possible.

Atlas Shrugged meets Trading Places.
I can understand why Rand loved this book. The book was filled with urgency met head on by the protagonist with competence, courage, conscientiousness, and creativity. Every page was exciting. A fast and uplifting read.

So good. Forgot the title of this until tonight. Doesn't drag on. Don't really get what drives the protagonist on. I always inwardly chuckle when I remember this piece, how the protagonist loses his cap. Whoops spoiler

It has been three decades or so since I read this book, so I've taken a star off for the distance of this review in my memory.

As a young man, I found this book to be riveting and direct. It reminded me of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead", but without the polemic.

The protagonist is a doer, who comes to

worth the read for me simply to compare the characters bannon & Peterson to some of shute's protagonists - a few keywords to gnaw on that separate the worlds of these hardworking, problem solving men: The revolver, vacation, & Christmas (yes, this is a Christmas book in the same sorta way Citizen Ka

Inspiring story that celebrates hard work, respect, and strong character in the face of nature and crooks.

It was a little bit rough to get into this story. First because of the language, a little bit difficult the unpolished american English of the beginning of the 20th century for a nonnative and second cause of the subject: a dry technical story about the construction of a silo. But after a while I wa

If you told me that a story about construction delays on a grain elevator would be this exciting, I would have laughed in your face. But it really is a gripping read, as Charlie Bannon faces one problem after another as the boss of the ambitious construction project, from a material shortage to a bl

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