Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America's Bloody Coal Industry

Priscilla Long, Author Paragon House Publishers $24.95 (420p) ISBN 978-1-55778-224-3
In a competent study of the coal-mining industry, from its origins in 13th-century England to John L. Lewis's rise to power at the United Mine Workers union in 1920, Long ( Mother Jones ) observes the role of coal in American history: the mineral's impact on the growth of industrial capitalism in the East; the developing interdependency of mining and railroads that was responsible for opening the West to settlement. Following the vicissitudes of the union movement and the economic consequences, the author also discusses the ethnic and political conflicts that regularly seized union members, resulting in violence and prolonged strikes. She conveys vividly the perilous, filthy, exhausting work of miners, often in their own words. Her account ends with the bitter and costly 1913-1914 Colorado miners' strike, terminated by federal troops, which led to the establishment of unions, government involvement in labor relations and, under Lewis, the founding of a capital-labor partnership. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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