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The Boy Orator

In Tracy Daugherty’s third novel, childhood innocence and political ambition meet just prior to the First World War in the person of Harry Shaughnessy, an Oklahoma farmer’ son. Gifted with a booming speaking voice and a charismatic presence, the boy learns the socialist credo from his father, who takes him on the road – from laborers’ camps to county fairs to Oklahoma City – to spread the people’s gospel to farmers, miners, and oil workers. Along the way young Harry encounters other socialist crusaders – Eugene V. Debs, Oscar Ameringer, and the dynamic red-haired feminist Kate O’Hare.

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