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The Women of the Copper Country

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,469 ratings  ·  437 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
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Atria Books
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,469 ratings  ·  437 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 ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
**Don't care what the Goodreads lists say, this is an absolutely amazing historical fiction novel by one of the most talented authors of our generation**

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
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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 ...more
Beata
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
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Carol
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Hook - After reading The Sparrow I'm a fan for life.

The Line(s) - The last two books I've read have epigraphs by William Shakespeare. I haven't checked to see if any are the same. Isn't this interesting. I could have left my line of choice blank and just thought about what the bard intended but decided to include this longer quote.
A parade of strikers...

”15,000 on strike? Ask CM.
Slogan: No to the widow-maker! Yes to the union! A fair share for labor!
Songs, brass band. Giddy laughter.
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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
”Charlie Miller took jobs on the surface and below it, and everywhere he went, the mine operators played the same games. Docking wages when they pleased for whatever reason occurred to them. Firing anyone who squawked. Promising a price for ore, then lowering the bottoms of the cars so they were deeper and you had to load more for the same money. Short-weighting the trams. Calling their paid-for sheriffs and deputizing thugs to beat you bloody and run you out of town if you protested. When the ...more
Sue
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
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Karen
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
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Dem
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A book that educates and informs the reader of a time or event in history is a book that is well worth reading for me and The Women of The Copper county is a book where the details are clear and concise and the author exposes the reader to a time when our foremothers and fathers fought for fair working conditions and to make a difference in the lives of future generations

In July 1913 Annie Clements is tired of an unfair and unjust world of the Copper Mining conditions in the town of Calument
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Elyse  Walters
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Annie Klobuchar Clements, “Big Annie”, 25 years old, nearly six feet tall, a copper minors wife....known as “America’s Joan of Arc”....
rebels against the largest copper mining company in the world in 1913 - to 1914... set in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

The greedy-evil-vindictive-capitalist - James MacNaughton, was President and Director manager of the Calument and Hecla Copper underground Mining Company in Calument, Michigan.
MacNaughton’s workers were underpaid. The miners were doing
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Brenda -Traveling Sister
3.5 Stars

The Women of Copper Country is a carefully researched historical fiction about the copper country strike of 1913 -1914 and that research really shines through here in the telling of this story. So much so it felt like a history lesson to me and it lacked the emotional depth to the story I love so much.

I loved the strength and bravery to the women in this story. They took a stand for what they believed in and sacrificed for the future.

The pace is bleak and not an easy one for me with
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Erin
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
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
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Chrissie
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
Annette
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
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Esil
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
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Cathrine ☯️
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
4
As a youngster I recall coming across a union picket line and my dad turning the car around while proclaiming he would never cross one. Since he never held the type of job where a union was involved, I later wondered how he came by such a strong viewpoint. He once said to a family member working under the benefit of one “I don’t know how a man can enjoy the protections of a union and be a Republican.”
Recently I read that perhaps the time and need for them in this country has come and gone. Not
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Julie
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1/7/2020 Simon and I are currently listening to this, as we will be meeting the author, Dr. Mary Doria Russell at Elgin Public Library on Sunday, 1/12/2020!!!

Update: Well, after listening whenever we could during this week, we finally finished the audiobook in the car on the way to the Library to meet the author!

This was an intense read, which engaged my attention and filled me with anger and sorrow. To use a clichéd phrase, "read it and weep." I surely did. The sorrow and suffering was
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Paige
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,
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Libby
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 ...more
Linda
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
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Tammy
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” ...more
Sara
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,
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Tom Mathews
This weekend Americans will be celebrating the Labor Day holiday. I’ll be donning my kilt and going to the annual Scottish Highland Games nearby. Others will be camping, picnicking, shopping, or just enjoying some much-needed time off from work. In all the bustle, it is easy to forget that our enjoyment of this day was paid for with the tremendous sacrifice and suffering of those in the labor movement. Because of their efforts, we all enjoy this holiday and other benefits that we take for ...more
Michael
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
DeAnn
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4.5 Union stars

This was a fascinating, well-researched novel based on the copper mining world of Calumet, Michigan in the 1910s. It was a time when labor unions were starting to gain steam and mine owners were protesting and fighting against them tooth and nail. While fiction, there are some real characters thrown into the story like Mother Jones and Ella Bloor.

The interesting twist here is that the women were also organizing to try to improve things. Annie Clements, a very tall and big
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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
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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
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Lisa
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
[3.5] The title of this novel drew me in! I spent several years of my childhood in Butte, Montana - a union copper mining town. The same immigrant population that came to Calumet, migrated to Butte - I can still taste the delicious pasties and recall that there were a multitude of languages spoken.

Russell thoroughly researches her subject and reading this novel is an involving way to learn about a fascinating part of history. Why have I not heard of Annie Clements? If she was in my school
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Karen Rush
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
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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
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2,191 followers
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
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“here’s what good people do: We don’t give up. We will not be cowed. We will refute their lies. We will get the vote, and we will use it. We will take them to court. We will march in their streets, and we will fight for justice every damned step of the way.” 1 likes
“Within himself, Tom Fisher smiles serenely. It's almost too easy. Promise these morons something they want. Let them believe in it. Then take it away. And tell them who's to blame.” 0 likes
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