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The Women of the Copper Country

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  119 reviews

In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements had seen enough of the world to know that it was unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the copper-mining town of Calumet, Michigan where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and had barely enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Atria Books
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4.27  · 
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 ·  237 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Angela M
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mary Doria Russell is a wonderful story teller and it’s about time that I finally read one of her books. I will, no doubt, get to some of her others because this one for me is deserving of five stars. The writing is descriptive but not overly, enough to give the reader a fantastic sense of time and place in the mining town of Calumet, Michigan in 1913 where the mine workers endure dangerous working conditions, meager pay checks and long hours, where men and boys die and children are hungry and c ...more
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

Some books are so good it’s hard to write a review to do them justice, this is one of those books. I do not get emotional often while reading a book but this one tore at my heart for all of the injustice and inhumanity that the miners and their families had to endure. A final tragedy that involved the deaths of many children brought tears to my eyes.

The book takes place in Calumet, Michigan which, in 1913, had the largest copper producing mines in the United States, more than
Diane S ☔
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
4.5 Such amazing courage in the face of unbeatable odds. That's what my thought was when I finished this book. A twenty five year old Roman who took on a copper Baron. The year was 1913 and changes were coming to the mine, but not good ones. One man drills were not only dangerous but would cost many men their jobs. The company owned them, here in Calumet on the peninsula of Michigan. Owned their houses, the stores, the banks and almost everything within view. A death, will be the impetus to stri ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have often come across the reviews by my Friends of Ms Russell's novels over some time now, and they are full of praise for her writing. Now I can fully comprehend why .... The Women of the Copper Country swept me of my feet, and I am certain this will be one of my top books of this year.
I never heard of the Copper Country or Big Annie, but now I am proud to have become part of the community who while reading felt for the miners and their families, who could learn about their tragic experience
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is why I read historical fiction. To be taken back to a time that I don’t truly understand and to learn about the people and events. This can only happen when the author combines excellent research with an ability to tell a story in a lucid, interesting and inspiring way. Mary Doria Russell has certainly accomplished this and The Women of the Copper Country is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

The setting for this novel is the company town of Calumet Michigan, site of a major
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Angela M
This is a book of historical fiction, and as such it is very good. It is about the Copper Country Strike of 1913-1914 as it played out at Calumet & Hecla Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan. The strike was organized by the Western Federation of Miners labor union. An 8-hour day, a minimum wage of $3 per day, an end to the use of the one-man pneumatic drill and that companies must recognize the union as the employees’ representative were demanded. A strike is a collective effort, and as such ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to Netgalley and Atria books for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

It's a working man I am
And I've been down under ground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down under ground
"Working Man" Rita McNeil 1990

I wasn't in a huge hurry to get to my August arcs, but then I read a few reviews of this one and was all about making it a priority. Once again, I have discovered a book that is a cont
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
An enthusiastic 4 stars!

As far as I’m concerned, good historical fiction does not romanticize or trivialize real historical events, but rather uses fiction as a way to bring history to life. The Women of the Copper Country really hit the mark. The novel focuses on a mining strike in Northern Michigan in 1913 as mostly seen through the eyes of the women of the town. Specifically, the story focuses on Annie Clements — known as Big Annie — who was the head of the Women’s Auxiliary and instrumental
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Based on the real life of “America’s Joan of Arc” Annie Clements. 23 years old, she witnessed the injustices of the copper mining business in her town of Calumet in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and she formed The Women’s Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners and actively participated in the Copper County Strike of 1913-1914. The miners were working for a dollar a day in very hazardous conditions, many losses of life.
I had no idea of these happenings or of the town and that it was such a dr
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1913, Annie Clements organizes the strikes for miners in Houghton county, Michigan that work under the duress of James MacNaughton, the general manager for Calumet & Hecla Mining. The strikers are continuously met with violence and other cruel means by Mr. MacNaughton and his bully boys.
“This is the price of copper,” she says in that clear, quiet voice. “A dead man. Every week. Month after month. Year after year.”

While most of the story builds on the 1913 Copper Country miners strike,
If the words on the page find a niche in your heart, it deserves all the stars....

Mary Doria Russell has a sharp skilled, fine-tuned talent to capture the angst, the sorrow, the despair of the mining families clustered around the copper mines of Calumet, Michigan in 1913. It is a desperate life for the men who leave the freshness of nature above ground to enter into her pits of unspeakable darkness below ground. It is an equally difficult life for the wives and the families who wait at day's end
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a nice change of pace to read a good old fashioned linear historical novel. This is really a David and Goliath story which takes place during the early 1900’s. Big Annie Clements was dubbed America’s “Joan of Arc” for staging protest marches against the C&H Mining Company. The plight of these copper miners in Calumet, Michigan was dismal. Dangerous working conditions caused deaths or maiming nearly weekly, the wages were paltry and working hours were outrageously long. Standing at 6’2”B ...more
Annie Clements (1888-1956), known as “American Joan of Arc” – the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.

A fight for a good life, not just a better life, comes vividly in this story. The nice city of Calumet built by one of the most profitable companies of its time is just a façade. What hides behind it, is the meager wages hardly making ends meet and the dangerous conditions under the ground. Every week someone dies or
Mary Doria Russell writes about a wildcat strike in Calumet, Michigan in 1913 and 1914; Calumet was a town that was seeing the copper industry boom. It is a story of greed and the story of labor and its fight to give the working man a life that is beyond the basics of survival. For fans of historical fiction or anyone who loves heroes and heroines engaged in Goliathan battles, Russell delivers an amazing story that will have you researching the history just because you have fallen in love with t ...more
Do you think your life is difficult? The boss doesn’t really appreciate you or give you your due? Your under a glass ceiling? Not being paid what you are worth? There is laundry to do and dishes to wash and kids to bathe when you get home from work? It rained during your entire week’s paid vacation and you spent way too much time just having messages and eating in restaurants because it wasn’t the weather for doing what you had planned? Bugger.

If you answered yes to even one of those questions,
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The determination and power of women who literally had none in the 1900's is one of the themes in THE WOMEN OF THE COPPER COUNTRY.

Annie Clements had always been someone who helped others. Being a miner's wife she knew how they and their families could always use help in one way or another.

Because of the need, Annie banded together with the wives of the copper miners to stop the unsafe conditions in the copper mines and the deaths of loved ones by trying to get the miners to join the union.

The o
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Russell again delivers a lovely reading experience by creating vivid characters who breathe life into significant historical events. Here we are treated to the role of certain real-life women in the labor movement shortly before World War 1. Our key hero is Annie Clement, the wife of a copper miner at the Calumet & Hecla massive operation in the Upper peninsula of Michigan. Known as “Big Annie” because of her 6 ft. 1 in. height, she grew up in Calumet, where her suffering of the loss of her ...more
Susan Johnson
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly important book. It's important to remember how far we have come and the sacrifices people made to get us to this point. If you think you are having a rough time at work, then read this story of a miner's life and the women who supported them. It will make you swallow your complaints and remember how hard people fought to bring us to where we are now.

There is a copper mine in Calmut, Michigan run by one of the most despicable men ever, James MacNaughton. He has down a lot
Donna Davis
Annie Clements is a badass union warrior, nearly six feet tall with fiery red hair and a voice that carries. When the men that work the Quincy mine strike for better wages, an eight hour day, and an end to the treacherous one man drill, Big Annie leads the women’s auxiliary, and her role makes headlines around the world. This magnificent novel, which holds closely to events as they unfurled, came to me free and early, thanks to Atria Books and Net Galley. It’s for sale right now.

The Quincy mine
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: release-2019
5 ☆ The Women of the Copper Country, my first novel by Mary Doris Russell, is a fascinating and emotional well-researched piece of US history I feel very fortunate to have come across. It’s storyline set in 1913 and 1914 follows Annie Clements, called Big Annie due to her tallness, and Eva an orphan, both living in the copper mining town of Calumet, Michigan. Photo-journalist Michael Sweeney also played an important role by releasing his photos making the world aware of Annie Clements fight for ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“This is the price of copper,” she says in that clear, quiet voice. “A dead man. Every week. Month after month. Year after year.”

Long-respected author Mary Doria Russell’s latest work of historical fiction is an eye-opening look into the early days of the copper industry’s budding unions and upheaval due in part to brutal conditions, senseless deaths and extremely long working hours for little pay.

Labor activist Anna Klobuchar Clements “Big Annie”, a tall woman at 6 ft 2 and president of the Wo
Joy D
Historical fiction about a copper miners’ strike in Calumet, Michigan in 1913, led by Annie Klobuchar Clements (the anglicized form of Clemenc). Mining conditions at the time were deplorable. Men were dying regularly in the mines, and surviving families evicted from their company-owned homes. This book relates the story of the strike and a brave woman who stepped into a leadership role at a time when many women were not even entitled to vote.

This book is a narrative of multiple tragedies. It is
Davida Chazan
In Mary Doria Russell’s latest novel, we get to learn the story of Anna Clements, who was an amazing woman during the famous copper mining strike in Michigan of 1913-14. I wasn’t expecting to put up this #bookreview today, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about this amazing book that will be released on August 6, on my blog here
Kate Baxter
Having visited Copper Country some years ago, steeped in its history of mining, excessive wealth, dirt poverty, and tragedy, my interest in this title was highly piqued. And oh, what a story this one was!

Author Mary Doria Russell delivers a rich telling of the people, place and time of 1913 Calumet, Michigan - the heart of Michigan's Keewenaw Peninsula and the richest Michigan city, in its day. Copper mining made it so rich, that back in 1890, the state capital almost moved there.

It's 1913. The
Rating: 4.5 rounded up to 5 striking stars

What a heroine! Maria Doria Russell skillfully breathed life into heroic Annie Clements and thereby wrote a story that was both historically accurate and compelling. ‘Big Annie’ Clements was born and grew tall in the copper mining town of Calumet, Michigan located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In November of 1913, at the age of twenty-five, Big Annie has had enough. She is tired of seeing the downtrodden mine workers asked to do more and more dangerous
Sharon Metcalf
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Isn't it wonderful when you choose a book for entertainment and it delivers so much more?   Such was the case with The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell.   This marvellous historical fiction made me think.    It made me question my own actions and motivations in the workplace today.  It had me Googling, and it helped me understand why Mary Doria Russell is such a highly acclaimed author.     In this novel she breathed new life into characters drawn from the pages of history books ...more
Mary Lins
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a HUGE fan of Mary Doria Russell, so I was thrilled to read her latest novel, “The Women of Copper Country” which tells the story of Annie Clements who, in 1913, lead an historic strike against the largest copper mining company at that time.

Ms. Russell’s novels are set apart by these things: beautiful prose, meticulously researched and compelling plots, and unforgettable characters. I was instantly captivated by “The Women of Copper Country” as Ms. Russell brought me into the details of the
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Few people outside of Michigan know anything about our Upper Penninsula (UP). As a matter of fact, a recent Mt. Dew ad featuring a map of America drew Michigander's ire when the UP was colored to be part of Wisconsin!

The UP has its own peninsula jutting into the deep inland ocean of Lake Superior, the Kewanee Penninsula. And a short distance from the top of that arm is Calumet, Michigan. Today it is a village of about 800 people. But in the late 19th c when the UP was a center of copper minin
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel takes place in Calumet Michigan in 1913. At this time, Calumet had the largest and most profitable copper mines in the US. Workers risked their lives every day underground with frequent deaths and injuries. The workers rent their homes from the company and shop in the company store and even have to buy their own gloves and shovels to work with. As the working population of the mines live a meager existence, the stock holders and mine managers are living the high life - trips to Europe ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting that is the second book I've read in so many months dealing with historical strikes, both by authors whose work I admire. (the other is by Wiley Cash) Makes me wonder if the time is ripe for our country to reevaluate the struggles of the working class in light of the today's economic chasm. But I digress. The Women of Copper County is no The Sparrow, but Russell's excellent writing skills make this an affecting, though infuriating read about life in a mining community. With time pass ...more
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Angela, Diane and Esil discuss 43 9 Jun 28, 2019 06:37PM  
Play Book Tag: The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell - 3+ stars 6 14 Mar 18, 2019 07:39AM  
Mary Doria Russell is an American author. She was born in 1950 in the suburbs of Chicago. Her parents were both in the military; her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant, and her mother was a Navy nurse.

She holds a Ph.D. in Paleoanthropology from the University of Michigan, and has also studied cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois, and social anthropology at Northeastern Univer