“The most comprehensive and comprehendible history of the West Virginia Coal War I’ve ever read. ” —John Sayles, writer and director of Matewan
On September 1, 1912, the largest, most protracted, and deadliest working-class uprising in American history was waged in West Virginia. On one side were powerful corporations whose millions bought armed guards and political influence. On the other side were fifty thousand mine workers, the nation’s largest labor union, and the legendary “miners’ angel, ” Mother Jones. The fight for unionization and civil rights sparked a political crisis that verged on civil war, stretching from the creeks and hollows of the Appalachians to the US Senate. Attempts to unionize were met with stiff resistance. Fundamental rights were bent—then broken. The violence evolved from bloody skirmishes to open armed conflict, as an army of more than fifty thousand miners finally marched to an explosive showdown.
Extensively researched and vividly told, this definitive book about an often-overlooked chapter of American history, “gives this backwoods struggle between capital and labor the due it deserves. [Green] tells a dark, often despairing story from a century ago that rings true today” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).