This image is the cover for the book Octopus


From the author of McTeague: The classic novel of corporate corruption and violent rebellion in the railroad industry.

On May 11, 1880, at a San Joaquin Valley ranch, a shootout between tenant farmers and a sheriff’s posse left seven dead. The dispute was over land rights. The law was acting in the service of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

This tragedy marked the beginning of the end for the American frontier, and it became the inspiration for Frank Norris’s epic tale of wheat croppers struggling against the tightening grip of the railroad industry.

With a cast of characters ranging from poor hired hands to wealthy landowners and railroad barons, Norris’s novel goes beyond its central conflict to chronicle the myriad political and social issues that rippled out from it. The first work in Norris’s planned Epic of the Wheat Trilogy, The Octopus was an important exposé of railroad greed that drew comparisons to Émile Zola for its incredible breadth. It is a great read for fans of gritty, historically inspired western series such as Deadwood or Hell on Wheels.

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Frank Norris

Frank Norris (1870–1902) was born in Chicago, Illinois. A young student at the Académie Julian in Paris, Norris was exposed to naturalism in literature and became particularly fascinated in the study of human evolution. After years of working as a correspondent for various newspapers, Norris began his unfinished trilogy, the Epic of Wheat. The two completed titles—The Octopus and The Pit—revealed the suffering caused by corrupt and greedy turn-of-the-century corporate monopolies. His death in 1902 left the third book unfinished. Norris also authored the novel McTeague, which has been adapted into numerous films and operas.

Open Road Media