Frank Little and the IWW by Jane Little Botkin

Spur Award Winner for Best Western Biography and Best Western First Nonfiction, Frank Little and the IWW: The Blood That Stained an American Family chronicles the story of Jane Little Botkin’s great-granduncle Frank H. Little (1878-1917) and his connection to the history of American labor and the first Red Scare. In doing so, Botkin throws into sharp relief the lingering consequences of political repression.

Jane Little Botkin

In the early morning hours of August 1, 1917, a black Cadillac snaked slowly up North Wyoming Street from an old delivery barn below the hill in Butte, Montana. The weather had been arid and unusually warm, and tempers were heated as well. But in the serene coolness of night, there was an aural crispness—a heavy silence that descended on the city after days of strikers’ demands for safer working conditions and fair employment, days after the great Speculator Mine swallowed 168 miners in fire and toxic fumes. The Butte town was exhausted and anxious. Six voiceless men slid out of the idling car. One stood sentry while the other five entered a boarding house at 316 North Wyoming Street. When they finished their sinister assignment, the consequences of a murder would shake the nation the nation to its core.

Jane Little Botkin

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Book Details



HARDCOVER 978-0-8061-5500-5

PAPERBACK 978-0-8061-6307-9

KINDLE 978-0-8061-5790-0

E-PUB 978-0-8061-5791-7


Caroline Bancroft History Prize 2018

High Plains Nonfiction Book Award Finalist 2018

Independent Publisher Book Award Bronze Medal 2018

Oklahoma Nonfiction Book Award Finalist 2018

Texas Nonfiction Book Award 2018

Spur Award for Best Biography 2018

Spur Award for First Nonfiction 2018

“Your book is so well written and documented, I felt as if the hand of history had reached out to touch me. I see many parallels between Frank's time and the present, although most people are totally ignorant of our Nation's labor struggles. I would hope you might find the energy to write again."

From a Reader

“The Caroline Bancroft History Prize committee was deeply impressed with Botkin’s research efforts and her ability to balance the objectivity of a historian and the compassion of a family member. In telling Little's story, Botkin also tells the story of life in early 20th-century mining towns and ably paints a picture of the travails that mining families faced as they struggled to scratch out a living in towns and camps where the mining company was a law unto itself.

Denver Western History and Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library, December 2018

"She puts the story together, piece by piece, before our eyes, and that is large part of the pleasure of this text...Botkin has done a marvelous job with details, going far beyond the treatments in the standard histories... of the IWW and the Western Federation of Miners."

Paul Buhl, MRonline, October 28, 2017.

“Jane Little Botkin’s account is, above all else, a human story, a recounting of the life of a man who fought for justice and fair treatment for workers, and paid the ultimate price for that fight."

J. G. Stinson, Foreword Reviews, April 27, 2017

“This book is as accurate as any story can be 100 years after the fact, and the writing has a cadence and flow that make it easy to read and hard to put down. It is the best analysis possible of one of American Labor’s most interesting, complicated, and important characters."

Richard I. Gibson, Montana Standard, July 30, 2017

“Verdict—Especially appealing for those interested in the history of the American West and labor history."

Charles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato, Library Journal Book Review, April 6, 2017