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Under Ground

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  22 reviews
It is 1915 and sixteen-year-old Katka Kovich’s life in a small Slovenian village is in ruins. Her parents have died, her food is dwindling and the rent is due. When a stranger arrives bearing a note from an uncle, inviting Katka to join him and his wife in America, she leaves all that she has held dear to rebuild her life across the ocean. On the voyage to New York, she be ...more
Kindle Edition, 281 pages
Published May 4th 2015 by Star Tribune Publishing
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  125 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Mary Mullane
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I actually finished this about a week ago but Goodreads quit working. ANYWAY, this book was chosen by the Minneapolis StarTribune to be serialized this summer. I like to read faster than the daily pace of the newspaper, so I downloaded the book on my kindle. I've lived in Minnesota all my life. Although the book is fiction, events & some of the people were real. The sacrifices of miners & the pioneers of labor unions are a part of Minnesota history, part of America's history. For me Labo ...more
Kate Parry
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you love historical fiction or labor history, this is a fascinating book about an iron miner's strike that changed labor practices throughout the United States. It's also a wonderful immigrant story and a love story. Really enjoyed this one.
Sue Eklund
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Historical fiction by local Mpls author. Easy read about the MN. mining industry on the iron range and the role of women during the miners strike in the early 1900s.
Carolyn Wilhelm
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
History repeats itself -- why don't we learn?

"I continue to be surprised at the degree to which we relive history, no matter how much we claim to learn from or pine for our past." Quote from blogger Minnesota Brown, who has blogged about this strike and also about this book.
My grandparents lived in Keewatin and were Slovenian so I found this book particularly interesting. I had heard many oral stories of the mines and unions which were in my mind while reading. I knew there were many difficult
Bill Wehrmacher
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I got the eBook version as did for the last Star Tribune serialized book. They were book more page turners than I could stand with a week between episodes. I am glad I read it. Good choices Star Tribune. Keep up the good work.

Ms. Marsnik created, and recreated, some wonderful characters. The events of the 1916 Mesaba Iron Range strike are well documented and have more than enough truthful excitement to carry this book along.

Reading this story made me want to attack folks at the top of the pyram
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Slovenian here! I am happy that I read this book. It was great to have a main character from my country and it was interesting to follow her trip to USA. One of Slovenian poets did write about a problem of leaving Slovenia for Usa. He wrote how these people will never ever see the natural beauties of Slovenia and they will only imagine it in their heads while mining under ground. The book was written okay, it did not really hook me up, so I needed quite some time to finish it. Thanks god to brav ...more
Sonja Johnson
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kudos to the author on her debut novel that is part of the 2015 Star Tribune summer serial. The reader is instantly drawn to the characters and to their harsh, yet realistic, conditions.I appreciated the author's commitment to showing a strong female protagonist and the attention to detail of this tumultuous time on the Iron Range. Katka's character will stick with me for years to come. What an interesting period of MN history! What a beautifully woven story of the commitment and perseverance of ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This was the Star Tribune serialized book for summer 2015. It's the story of the evil steel mine company, the miners who are abused by the company and the resulting strike. The book takes place in 1916 and is character-driven and action packed.
The text seemed edited in places, maybe to suit the serial format, but the story was interesting and held my attention. It was a novel, but based on true events and I hadn't read about the mine strikes on the Iron Range before. Again, we're lucky to be li
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Being a Minnesota native who attended college in Duluth, I loved the storyline taking place on the Iron Range. I'd heard about the strike before but never grasped the details until now. The conditions in the mines were deplorable for a variety of reasons. The men, and especially, the women were very courageous. My only comments - the last 1/3 of the book got a little long and I assume the main character came from the former Yugoslavia but that wasn't mentioned in the book. The name of the countr ...more
Sandi Pellicciotti
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Personal history

Under Ground could be describing life for my great-grandparents.
This historical fiction gave me an understanding of life in the early days on the Iron Range. I had no idea as to what these early Rangers went through until I read this work. My great-grandfather was injured in a dynamite explosion in an Oliver Mine.
I recommend Under Ground to all Iron Rangers and their extended families, to history buffs, to those who want to know why Unions needed to be formed. I hope more books a
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Focuses on the struggles of immigrants working in Minnesota's Iron Range during mining strike of 1916. Fictional characters interact with historical ones and bring this world to life. Although it is an historical narrative, the characters are real and appealing, so the story rarely bogs down. Marsnik highlights the roles women played in labor unrest -- the sort of details that history books often leave out. The story is well-told and interesting--the StarTribune serialized it this summer and I g ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read online in 106 parts and that format was a bit choppy for me. Had a nice "up north" meal to complement our book club reading. Insightful look at the mining activity ~1915. Seems like the author had researched the subject and era extensively. There were parts that were brutal, bloody, and unsettling to me but I assume that is what that time was like.
Many of the characters were knitters which gave me a smile!
Really interesting history (historical fiction, but well-grounded in fact) of the Iron Range mining conditions, immigrants and unionization. I thought she did a really great job with the speech patterns of the various ESL speakers; in some books accents become like caricature, but this was very naturally done.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read this as the Star Tribune's summer serialized novel, which may have influenced my feelings about it. The short daily format became tedious and tiresome. I learned something about the important events in Minnesota labor history that the book chronicles, but I regret that I was never drawn into the story.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
Perhaps, instead of trying to build a family tree we should take a leaf out of Megan Marsnik's book and track down family history, stories and anecdotes and combine it with researching some history of the time and the place and create a sense of what our forebears lives were like. A page-turning holiday read by a friend of a friend.
Deborah Klein
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it
The book is the definition of average. The story is historical fiction and engaging. The characters are warmly drawn. However, the author has no ear for storytelling; the tone is so matter of fact that the drama is compromised. Other than the sexual references and the rape scenes, the book is written at about the 6th grade level and appears to be aimed at the YA audience.
Sam Bauman
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
It would have been a page turner if it wasn't serialized in the Star Tribune. It worked very well in that format. The writing wasn't the best throughout but the story was engaging and the characters likeable. I need to figure out a way to read more books in the format besides building a time machine. I still wouldn't read Dickens though.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good accounting of life in northern Minnesota in the early 1900's, during the early formation of unions and the iron ore miners. I teach 6th grade Minnesota history and while parts of it may not be appropriate for use in the classroom, it gave me good background information for use in teaching that topic.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Minnesota SISU

Iron range historical fiction.. Brings to life the time my grandparents lived in Pool Location and were owned by the Oliver. Had that can't put down suspense.Great read.
Phyllis J White
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
a pretty good book

It is kind of boring in the beginning but part way into the story it gets your attention and holds right up to the end.
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Kathleen Green
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Sara Fleck
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Jul 27, 2015
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Susan Hammel
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Jul 01, 2015
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Ed Kohler
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Jan 27, 2016
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