“Desert of Wheat - Zane Grey, the Inland Empire and World War I”
Spokane author and scholar Richard Sola discusses author Zane Grey, who visited Spokane in the summer of 1917 right after the U.S. entered the First World War. Out of this visit came Grey’s book, Desert of Wheat, that was his first book set in contemporary times. Grey wrote about the fear of alien sabotage in the wheat fields, the importance of wheat to the war effort, and the I.W.W., which he portrayed as agents of Germany who were hell-bent on undermining the 1917 wheat crop. Grey literally took parts of the books from the headlines of the day, including war mobilization, local defense councils, lynchings and the efforts of German Americans to prove their loyalty to the United States. Part of the monthly lecture series based on the theme “Spokane Scandals and Controversies,” designed to explore some of the more edgy and interesting topical scandals and controversies in Spokane’s earlier history.