A Conversation for Dashiell Hammett - Author

Hammett's Politics

Post 1

Norton II

How did he square his past with the Pinkerton detective agency's anti-union activities with his Communism? is it true that he left the agency because he was offered $5,000 to kill a shop steward?

Hammett's Politics

Post 2


He did not begin to involve himself in politics, liberal or otherwise, until the Great Depression, a time when a lot of people indulged in radical philosophies as a way to combat social and economic injustice.

He left because of the side effects of TB--he could no longer handle the physical demands of the job. He was also troubled by the agency's continuing role in union intimidation. Frank Little was an IWW activist who came to Butte, MT in 1917 to meet with miners, union activists, and any interested citizens. Hammett was on the scene to observe at the agency's (and client's) direction. An unknown individual, or individuals, kidnapped Little and literally tarred and feathered him, leaving him to die from third-degree burns on some railroad tracks outside of town. This incident troubled Hammett deeply...and could have been a sub-factor in leaving the Pinkertons.

This story about the shop steward...never heard it.

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Hammett's Politics

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