‘Power in the Wilderness’ book one step closer to reality

Victor L. Power

Longtime readers know that I’ve been generating fewer posts these last couple years because of an enormous research and writing project. Today I have some exciting news to share.

Last week I signed a book deal. The University of Minnesota Press will publish “Power in the Wilderness” sometime in early- to mid-2022. I’m due to complete the manuscript next June.

Victor L. Power was a blacksmith’s assistant-turned-lawyer who upended Iron Range politics in the early 1900s. A progressive Republican populist, he defied most political labels of the time to become the mayor of Hibbing, Minnesota. From 1913 to 1917 he defeated the world’s largest corporation, U.S. Steel, in an uninterrupted series of political and legal triumphs. But World War I forced Hibbing to move in order to access the iron ore beneath.

Then began a part of the story that remains mysterious to this day, as bootleggers and backroom deals sapped Power’s strength, both politically and physically. He died in 1926 at just 45 years of age. In this, “Power in the Wilderness” bears important lessons for today, explains how the Iron Range became the way it is, and shows the sometimes impossible cost of acquiring and keeping power.

A tremendous amount of work remains. I’ve still got the microfilm machine humming over here. And while I’ve already met the word count goal for the book, I’ve only told half the story. This will be one of the most professionally challenging years of my life. But damn, it’s fun. So let’s go.

PS: My work with Karl Jacob on the podcast of the same name also continues. We’ll be releasing episodes in the months prior to my completion of the manuscript. To be blunt, we could use your financial help, so follow the link to find out how to receive early access to episodes and how to sponsor episodes of our podcast for both a local and national audience.

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