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Calumet "K" Paperback – August, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Second Renaissance Pr (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561141453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561141456
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,308,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Calumet "K" is not great literature; it is simply light popular fiction from 1901. But it is well worth reading nevertheless. Calumet "K" tells the story of how Charlie Bannon, the story's hero, attempts to complete construction of a Chicago grain elevator in the face of a series of hurdles that threaten to scuttle the project. How Bannon deals with these challenges will fill you with delight and admiration. But this story has a deeper significance. Bannon is presented as a hero because he is superbly competent. He is a man who can get things done in the face of unexpected challenges. He is also a man who loves his work. To Bannon, work is not just a job; it is a sacred calling. This exalted view of work is very rare in fiction -- the only other authors I know of who have captured it are Ayn Rand and, in some of his stories, Rudyard Kipling. Calumet "K" is worth reading for another reason: it gives a glimpse of the American sense of life of a century ago: the sense that the world is a benevolent place open to individual achievement, where competence is practical and is rewarded, and where men are free to achieve great things through their work. All of this is merely implicit; this is not a story of ideas. But the ideas it embodies are great.
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By A Customer on August 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This novel reminds me of the John Wayne film, "Red River" which celebrates the kind of stubborn, fighting spirit that really won the west. This book is MUST reading for readers who are disgusted by the wimpy, wet noodle specimens of humanity that you encounter on the street every day. Don't let the crude writing technique put you off. This book is an oasis of sanity and would be a bargain at twice the price!
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Format: Hardcover
Calumet K is one of many books that I classify as "hero novels", books that could be termed Hortio ALger for adults.
This short book is the story of one man's adventure in building one of the largest grain elevator's in the world. If you are an engineer or interested in the history of structures in the US this is a must read.
Put this on your shelf next to "Banker and Bear", "Cash McCall", and "The Fountainhead".
-RS
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Format: Paperback
The main character is the archetype hero and get things done guy that Ayn modeled many of her man as hero characters in Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. This book was originally published in 1901 and is more, I think, a character study than a plot driven novel. That's why I only give it four stars. Ayn said about the story herself, "It's style is staightforward and competent, but undistinguished. It lacks the most important ingredient of good fiction, a plot structure. But it has one element that I have never found in any other novel: the portrait of an efficacious man." Praise like that I think explains why Ayn didn't get a lot of requests for "blurbs" from other writers but hey that's Ayn and that's why we love her. I like the book because the hero, Charlie Bannon, is tasked to build a grain elvator and every time he runs across a problem that would make anybody else quit or drive them off the project he doesn't get upset or snivvel he just sticks to it and gets the job done. Read the book to find out what crap he has to put up with and how he solves things. It is inspiring whenever you have to get a gargantual task done and start to second guess yourself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Author Henry Kitchell Webster was a prolific author of popular fiction in the early years of the twentieth century. His book, Calumet K, about the problems encountered in building a grain elevator in Chicago, is illuminated by his first-hand knowledge of the business of grain transport. His father, Towner Kenney Webster, invented the collapsible grain buckets that were attached to conveyors before the invention of the grain auger. These buckets scooped up grain from railroad hopper cars, carried it up to the elevator silo, dumped the grain into the silo, collapsed for the trip down the back side of the conveyor, and reopened for the repeat journey.
Charlie Bannon's trials and tribulations in getting the elevator built are showcased against a very realistic picture of what it takes to get a complex project through to completion, something that Webster would have know all about through his father.
Webster wrote using dictation. This let him concentrate on the ideas that swirled around in his brain rather than being forced by pen and paper to slowly squeeze out the form of the story. His style, therefore, is wide-ranging and he touches on many aspects of the environment, filling out a broad picture of the time and place. It is possible that Webster's writing regimen was influenced by his father's experience: Towner Kenney Webster made and lost several fortunes between inventing and investing. His biggest loss was his investment, with Samuel Clemmons (Mark Twain) in a mechanized typesetting machine. Ottmar Mergenthaler's Linotype came on the market almost a year before the machine backed by Webster and Clemmons. They lost all of their investment. Henry Kitchell Webster was my great uncle.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great fun to read. I'm a fan of Henry Kitchell Webster and have read almost all of his many books. I don't care for anything written by Samual Merwin. It's amazing that the two men could write this book together and have it work so well. This is the third and final of the books they wrote together. Merwin was Webster's teacher. This book of a man achievements is similar to another book I read recently, The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir. The Martian, too, has a man with many challenges, using his mind to solve every problem. I'm a fan of Ayn Rand's ideas, which is how I discovered this book.
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