Two bullets struck Frick: More Powerful Than Dynamite: 2 of 2: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York's Year of Anarchy by Thai Jones

May 06, 02:58 AM
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Two bullets struck Frick: More Powerful Than Dynamite: 2 of 2: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York's Year of Anarchy by Thai Jones

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007DD9OSG/ref=dbsadefrwthschvapitaftp1i0

In the year that saw the start of World War I, the United States was itself on the verge of revolution: industrial depression in the east, striking coal miners in Colorado, and increasingly tense relations with Mexico. "There was blood in the air that year," a witness later recalled, "there truly was."

In New York, the year had opened with bright expectations, but 1914 quickly tumbled into disillusionment and violence. For John Purroy Mitchel, the city's new "boy mayor," the trouble started in January, when a crushing winter caused homeless shelters to overflow. By April, anarchist throngs paraded past industrialists' mansions, and tens of thousands filled Union Square demanding "Bread or Revolution." Then, on July 4, 1914, a detonation destroyed a seven-story Harlem tenement. It was the largest explosion the city had ever known. Among the dead were three bombmakers; incited by anarchist Alexander Berkman, they had been preparing to dynamite the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of a plutocratic dynasty and widely vilified for a massacre of his company's striking workers in Colorado earlier that spring.

More Powerful Than Dynamite charts how anarchist anger, progressive idealism, and plutocratic paternalism converged in that July explosion. Its cast ranges from celebrated figures such as Emma Goldman, Upton Sinclair, and Andrew Carnegie to the fascinating and heretofore little known: Frank Tannenbaum, a homeless teenager who dared to lead his followers into the city's churches; police inspector Max Schmittberger, too honest for his department and too crooked for everyone else; and Becky Edelsohn, a young anarchist known for her red tights and for spitting in millionaires' faces. Historian and journalist Thai Jones creates a fascinating portrait of a city on the edge of chaos coming to terms with modernity.

Alexander Berkman plotted to murder Frick. On July 23, 1892 Berkman, armed with a revolver and a sharpened steel file, entered Frick's office in downtown Pittsburgh.[3]

Frick, realizing what was happening, attempted to rise from his chair while Berkman pulled a revolver and fired at nearly point-blank range. The bullet hit Frick in the left earlobe, penetrated his neck near the base of the skull, and lodged in his back. The impact knocked Frick down, and Berkman fired again, striking Frick for a second time in the neck and causing him to bleed extensively. Carnegie Steel vice president (later, president) John George Alexander Leishman, who was with Frick, was then able to grab Berkman’s arm and prevented a third shot, probably saving Frick's life.[citation needed]

Frick was seriously wounded, but rose and (with the assistance of Leishman) tackled his assailant.[11] All three men crashed to the floor, where Berkman managed to stab Frick four times in the leg with the pointed steel file before finally being subdued by other employees, who had rushed into the office.[citation needed]

Frick was back at work in a week; Berkman was charged and found guilty of attempted murder. Berkman's actions in planning the assassination clearly indicated a premeditated intent to kill, and he was sentenced to 22 years in prison.[3] Negative publicity from the attempted assassination resulted in the collapse of the strike.[12] Approximately 2,500 men lost their jobs, and most of the workers who stayed had their wages halved.[13]