The Crash: Who's in Charge?

The nation calls for leadership, and there is no one home

Nobody dast blame this man. You don't understand: Willy was a salesman . . . ((A salesman)) don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back -- that's an earthquake.

-- Death of a Salesman

It was a mild October. But then the temperatures dropped, and the cold at dusk had the first wolf of winter in it.

One afternoon in Minnesota, near the headwaters of the Mississippi, the season...