Frank Harris' fictional account of the Haymarket Affair of 1886 focuses on Rudolph Schnaubelt, a German immigrant whose socialist background, discontent with his chosen country, and hatred for authority lead him to join the Chicago anarchists during the labor unrest of the 1880s. When strikes at the Pullman and McCormick plants and discontent among the stockyard employees and other workers throughout the city culminate in public demonstrations and riots which Chicago police attempt to control, it is Rudolph Schnaubelt who sets off a bomb killing eight policemen and injuring sixty people at a rally in Haymarket Square. The story is told in the first person, as seen through the eyes of Schnaubelt, who escapes to Bavaria where he watches closely the events which follow in the wake of his action. The Bomb is a depressing book on an ugly subject. Even an attempt by the author to relieve the demoralizing influence of the novel through the addition of a romantic sub-plot does little to alleviate the total starkness of the story and the writing. --Book Review Digest, 1909
t I am much of a writer; but I have read some of the great writers, and know how they picture a man, and any weakness of mine is more than made up for by the best model a writer ever had. God! if he could come in here now and look at me with those eyes of his, and hold out his hands, I'd rise from this bed and be well again; shake off the cough and sweat and deadly weakness, shake off anything. He had vitality enough in him to bring the dead to life, passion enough for a hundred men. . . .
I learned so much from him, so much; even more, strange to say, since I lost him than when I was with him. In these lonely latter months I have read a good deal, thought a good deal; and all my reading has been illumined by sayings of his which suddenly come back to my mind, and make the dark ways plain. I have often wondered why I did not appreciate this phrase or that when he used it. But memory treasured it up, and when the time was ripe, or rather, when I was ripe for it, I recalled it, and realized its significa