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The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America's Largest Labor Uprising
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The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America's Largest Labor Uprising

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In 1921, some 10,000 West Virginia coal miners-- outraged over years of brutality and exploitation-- picked up their Winchesters and marched against their tormentors, the powerful mine owners who ruled their corrupt state. For ten days the miners fought a pitched battle against an opposing legion of deputies, state police, and makeshift militia. Only the intervention of a ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 26th 2006 by Basic Books (first published 2004)
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Aug 10, 2008 Werner rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in American history, and/or social justice
Shelves: history
After reading Storming Heaven [see my review of that novel] and watching the movie Matewan, I wanted to read a dependable nonfiction account of those events, so that I'd know exactly what actually happened in real life, and verify for myself how closely the fictional versions reflect the truth (the answer to the latter question turns out to be, pretty closely!). Longtime serious journalist (a veteran Washington correspondent) and now Johns Hopkins Univ. academic Shogan provides that account. His ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-wins
After seeing a documentary about Blair Mtn, I was curious to read more. This book was difficult to sift through, but I was determined to do it. (My husband read it also and felt the same way.) It is the story of what was supposed to be America's largest labor uprising, set in the early 1900's in West Virginia. There were so many characters, and the time line kept switching, but the author included both economic and political background that led up to the actual event. After finally finishing the ...more
Oct 22, 2015 Unwisely rated it liked it
I figured I ought to learn something about Labor, since we get the day off. But, man, this book just didn't hold my interest. Partially that might be because I put this book down to read a more immediate hold. But people argued for a while, lots of shots were fired, and rich people got richer. (Does that really need a spoiler tag?)

It seemed like there might have been an interesting story here, but I wasn't drawn in or anything. It wasn't bad, but not very interesting to a casual reader such as m
Apr 15, 2008 Bythedeed rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anarchists, dynamiters, labor radicals, those interested in appalachian and rural history
A year and a half of ambushes against cops and hired guns, a jury willing to acquit their fellow rabble despite evidence against them and one of the largest armed insurrections in US history - amazing. I wish Shogan had concentrated a little less on Hatfield and talked more from the perspective of the miners, but I did appreciate how they had a steady background vigilance of shoot-outs and dynamitings. I also thought it was interesting that a lot of the miners only did it as seasonal work, and s ...more
Nov 27, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it
A very interesting book on a very unknown part of US History.

At the close of World War I, the UMW was attempting to extend their reach in the coal country of West Virginia, and many of the companies were attemping to prevent this.

Overall, it's a well told account. If there is a flaw, it's that it is perhaps a bit uncritical of the decision of the miners to escalate to violence. Shogan is more than willing to critisize the Mine Owners and the Federal Government, but doesn't really dig into the i
Fraser Sherman
Jun 16, 2013 Fraser Sherman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In the early 1920s, West Virginia went to war with itself. The miners wanted to unionize; the mine-owners didn't. Given the owners hardball tactics and their alliance with the state's political powers, it's no surprising things turned ugly (though the miners certainly contributed to the bloodshed) with murders for profit and revenge, the blithe disregard of constitutional rights and law-enforcement frequently redhanded up to its elbows. Grim, but absorbing.
J. Danielle Dorn
Jul 19, 2012 J. Danielle Dorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history, 2012
What the hell is wrong with people?

In other news I keep waffling between 3 and 4 stars for this one. Keep leaning towards 4 because this is the only book I could find on the subject and it had a shit-ton of information but the writing was clunky in places. There are also a lot of people to keep track of but a lot of you have gotten through the ASOIAF series already so that shouldn't be a problem.
Jul 07, 2008 Jennelle marked it as to-read
I was reading this book during the Sago Mine disaster and I had to stop. What was going on tv was just too tragic. I enjoyed it up to that point, so perhaps I'll pick it up again soon.
Jun 04, 2012 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: west-virginia
Definitely worth reading if you are at all interested in the history of the labor movement, West Virginia, the coal industry, Warren G. Harding, or post WWI America.
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