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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Battle Of Blair Mountain: The Story Of America's Largest Labor Uprising » User review

Forgotten rebellion by UMW comes to life in these pages.

  • Nov 20, 2009
  • by
As a citizen of these United States it is one of my great frustrations that young people do not know history.  I have my own theories on why that is, but needless to say we all pay the price for this unfortunate state of affairs.  That is especially clear to me when I read a book like "The Battle of Blair Mountain".

In spite of all of the reading I do I will be the first to admit that I had never even heard about this epic struggle between the United Mine Workers union and the coal mine operators.  It is the classic labor-management confrontation.  Robert Shogan does a superb job of recreating the events that occurred in the mountains of rural West Virginia in the years 1920 and 1921 During those years the leadership of the United Mine Workers was committed to unionizing all of the non-union mines in the State of West Virginia.  On the other hand the mine operators were just as determined to keep the unions out.  And as Robert Shogan so eloquently points out the mine owners had friends, powerful friends, in places of authority at all levels of government in West Virginia.  The result was a period of violence and unrest that culminated in "The Battle of Blair Mountain".  A good many individuals had already lost their lives in the skirmishes that led up to "The Battle".  Now nearly 10,000 coal miners were armed and poised to fight for the right to organize.  On the other side were the forces of the State of West Virginia backed up by troops from the U.S. Army. But for the grace of God it could have been a blood bath.

History buffs and students of labor-management relations are certain to enjoy "The Battle of Blair Mountain".  It would also be a wonderful book for high school civics teachers to assign to their students.  Our young people must become aware of the struggles and the sacrifices that were made by previous generations of Americans.  This is a well-written book that deserves your time and attention.     Very highly recommended!!
Forgotten rebellion by UMW comes to life in these pages. Forgotten rebellion by UMW comes to life in these pages.

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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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In 1921, some 10,000 West Virginia coal miners-- outraged over years of brutality and exploitation-- picked up their Winchesters and marched against their tormentors, the powerful mine owners who ruled their corrupt state. For ten days the miners fought a pitched battle against an opposing legion of deputies, state police, and makeshift militia. Only the intervention of a Federal expeditionary force ended this undeclared war. In The Battle of Blair Mountain, Robert Shogan shows this long-neglected slice of American history to be a saga of the conflicting political, economic, and cultural forces that shaped the power structure of twentieth-century America.

Robert Shogan has spent more than thirty years covering the political scene in Washington as national political correspondent for Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Government at the Center for Study of American Government of Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

--Basic Books
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Books, Nonfiction, History, Nonfiction Books, Prospecting And Mining, Robert Shogan Books


ISBN-10: 0465077730
ISBN-13: 978-0465077731
Author: Robert Shogan
Genre: Labor & Industrial Relations, Industrial Relations, South, West Virginia, United States, Political Science, Mining, Surveying & Photogrammetry, Prospecting & Mining, Oil & Energy, General, Social History
Publisher: Basic Books
Date Published: July 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
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