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Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  220 ratings  ·  19 reviews

On a spring morning in 1914, in the stark foothills of southern Colorado, members of the United Mine Workers of America clashed with guards employed by the Rockefeller family, and a state militia beholden to Colorado’s industrial barons. When the dust settled, nineteen men, women, and children among the miners’ families lay dead. The strikers had killed at least thirty me

Hardcover, 386 pages
Published October 31st 2008 by Harvard University Press (first published October 1st 2008)
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Rob Prince
now we - or at least they- kill for oil... in the past (and actually it continues) we killed for coal. the state in which i live has a rather unknown history of literal armed struggle between this state's miners, many of whom were immigrants, and the u.s. military. it happened it telluride, in the northern fields east of boulder (around louisville) and of course at ludlow. `killing for coal' gives a sense of how, when it comes to producing the energy necessary for industrialization and our moder ...more
Shonda Wilson
This book takes a look at the uprising of coal miners and how they... after the destruction of a tent village...go on a rampage because of the deaths of women and children... its interesting, compelling, and easy to understand why these men resorted to the lengths they did after years of attempting to get some sort of boost in pay while making the rest of the world work in the middle of a period where everyone was dependent on coal.
KILLING FOR COAL is a labor history of miners in the southern coalfields of Colorado during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It may be considered an environmental history because it addresses (among the social, political, and cultural dimensions of labor relations between miners and capitalists) the natural and ecological dimensions and setting of the region’s history. Andrews introduces the term “workscape” that “treats people as laboring beings who have changed and been changed ...more
I was partial to this book even before I read it. The author is the son of a college friend. The book is his history dissertation published by Harvard University Press--a very special recognition. While coal mining in southern Colorado is not my first topic of interest, Andrews made this study readable, insightful, and compelling.
Reading this book gave me a new insight into the developmental history of industrialized Colorado. The combination of railroads and William Jackson Palmers influence on the development of the coal empires was new to me. It also gave me a new perspective on the United Mine Workers.
The book is packed with information which makes reading a slow, thoughtful process. It is wrth the time to study it for the information gained. It is somewhat depressing to realize that the employer/employee struggles,
John E
Outstanding book! The best history book I've read in many years (and I read a lot of history). If you are interested in labor history, environmental history, the history of migration, Western American history, business history, or just a great read, this is well worth your time. No wonder it won so many prizes when published.
This is a really well written and fascinating look at coal mining in Colorado. I don't love labor or environmental history (Andrews focus) but the book was so well written and researched that it read like a social history and was really enjoyable.
The Vestiges
Fascinating analysis of the influence of coal on the development of the American West and painful labor strife which accompanied it.
In his book, Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War, Thomas C. Andrews explores the causes that led to the 1914 Ludlow Massacre and the following Ten Day’s War that enveloped the southern Colorado mining fields. Andrews seeks to remove Ludlow from the narrow confines of past interpretations of Ludlow-as-massacre and Ludlow-as-battle by placing it within a larger context. With extensive archival evidence, Andrews argues that Ludlow and the Great Coalfield War were a result of half a cent ...more
This book is difficult to review. The book is really about the coal industry in Colorado (and adjacent Mountain West states), how the coal was formed, how the industry started, the types of workers and various unionization efforts throughout those years of intensive labor. The entirety of the 10 days war takes about 10 pages and given the significant gaps in the historical record, he's done a good job.

However, getting to that specific strike takes over 200 pages. He has created an interesting h
A great book on a little known "battle" between Colorado mine workers, backed by their union, and coal companies, backed by the National Guard. Andrews presented a narrative that flowed easily as he broke down the reasons for the fight between the union workers and the coal companies. It was a compelling story and one I found more interesting than I originally thought.
Deborah Méndez-wilson
This is a must read for anyone who wants a comprehensive, scholarly look at the Ludlow Massacre, one of the saddest chapters of Colorado history. Professor Andrews is a fine researcher and writer, who writes in a very authoritative, journalistic style. I like that he admits that he knew nothing about Ludlow while growing up in Denver, which can seem light years away from southern Colorado, where I grew up. I, on the other hand, heard about Ludlow when I was just a little girl. My grandfather, a ...more
This one just won the Bancroft (awarded by the Organization of American Historians for best book) and Carson (awarded by the Americans Society for Environmental History for best book) prizes. It also happens to be authored by a friend of mine from grad school. He sat across the table from me in my first-ever grad seminar, and by the time he'd made his third comment I was beginning to wonder if I'd chosen the wrong career. He was *that* intimidatingly smart. Then at the end of class, he asked if ...more
Donna Herrick
This is by far one of the besty books that I have ever read, it makes me want to redefine my rating system. This is a history of the events called the "Ludlow Massacre", but it is much more. Andrews gives a great view of the coal mining industry, its place in society, how mining came to be in Colorado, and the conditions that the miners worked and lived in. I wish I had this as an e-book so that I could go to the references over and over again.

I find many parallels between
American society now a
Diana Reyes
"Killing for Coal" by Thomas G. Andrews writes a well written book on the retelling of the Ludlow Massacre. This book has a magical way to intrigue a read and captivate them. It provides valuable information on the event. This book is a good way to learn every detail and aspect of the Ludlow attack. It's a can't miss for readers interested in the coal history.
I actually got to do a "real" review of this one. See here, if you like:

What I didn't have room to say in the review is that the book is written by an academic, and boy can his lingo be annoying. If you can get past his insistence on using terms like "workspace" and "vernacular landscape," it's a fascinating read.
May 28, 2013 Jay marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
We didn't read the entirety of this work for my History of Energy course this past semester (Spring 2013) and, contrary to my hopes, I didn't get to read the remainder before I had to part with the book.
Nice prose for a very factual book, sometimes too fact heavy though. It made it hard to read. I wish the events reached a better climax, but I guess that's history for you.
Written by an academic, and it shows. I made a couple of attempts but couldn't wade through the prose. Pity, an important piece of history.
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