From before the dawn of the twentieth century until the arrival of the New Deal, one of the most protracted and deadly labor struggles in American history was waged in West Virginia. On one side were powerful corporations and millionaire industrialists who bought political influence and paid for armed guards for their company towns. On the other side were 50,000 mine workers, the nation’s largest labor union, and the legendary “miners’ angel,” Mother Jones.
Attempts to unionize were met with stiff resistance. Fundamental rights were bent and broken until the violence evolved from bloody skirmishes to open armed conflict. The fight for civil rights and unionization sparked a political crisis verging on civil war that stretched from the creeks and hollows to the courts and the US Senate. In The Devil is Here in These Hills, celebrated labor historian James Green tells the story of West Virginia and coal like never before.
“Among the best and largely forgotten American stories” – New York Times
“A thoroughly documented and masterfully written account” – Booklist
“The Devil Is Here in These Hills provides much needed perspective on the economic, social, and political issues that still confound the Mountaineer State…The author’s nuanced treatment….is the way history should be written.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette