The Ludlow Massacre of 1914 has long been known as one of the most notorious events in all of American labor history, but until the publication of Killing for Coal
, it was still possible to see this slaughter simply as an episode in the history of American industrial violence. In Thomas Andrews's skilled hands, it becomes something much subtler, more complicated, and revealing: a window onto the profound transformation of work and environment that occurred on the Western mining frontier in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Anyone interested in the history of labor, the environment, and the American West will want to read this book.
--William Cronon, author of Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great WestKilling for Coal
is a stunning achievement. Beautifully written and masterfully researched, it stands as the definitive history of the dramatic events at Ludlow and breaks new ground in our understanding of industrialization and the environment. If I were to pick one word to describe this book, I would say, "powerful."
--Kathryn Morse, author of The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold RushKilling for Coal
arises from the rare and providential convergence of an extraordinary author and an extraordinary topic. With a perfect instinct for the telling detail, Thomas Andrews wields a matching talent for conveying, in crystal-clear prose, the deepest meanings of history. This is, in every sense, an illuminating book, shining light into a dark terrain of the American past and of the human soul.
--Patricia Nelson Limerick, author of The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West
A groundbreaking work about coal and coal development, labor relations and class conflict.
--Sandra Dallas (Denver Post
Thomas G. Andrews' Killing for Coal
offers an intriguing analysis of the so-called Ludlow Massacre of April 20, 1914, a watershed event in American labor history that he illuminates with a new understanding of the complexity of this conflict...Killing for Coal
distinguishes itself from conventional labor histories, by going beyond sociological factors to look at the total physical environment--what Andrews calls the "workscape"--and the role it played in the lives of both labor and management...In its deft marriage of natural and social history, Killing for Coal
sets a new standard for how the history of industry can and should be written.
--Emily F. Popek (PopMatters
A stunning debut, full of insight into the role of labor and class not just in southern Colorado, but across the country. (Denver Westword
Andrews brings a 21st-century approach to this once-troubled landscape where the region's voracious need for fuel trumped the rights and independence of the men who dragged it out of the ground.
--Bob Hoover (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
2009-04-19)Killing for Coal
is far more than a blow-by-blow account of America's deadliest labor war. It is an environmental history that seeks to explain strike violence as the natural excretion of an industry that brutalized the earth and the men who worked beneath it. Andrews is one of the excellent young scholars who have given new life to the field of labor and working-class studies by introducing new questions about race and gender, ethnicity and nationality, and new insights drawn from anthropology and physical geography...Andrews deserves credit for writing one of the best books ever published on the mining industry and its environmental impact and for drawing more public attention to the Ludlow story and its significance.
--James Green (Dissent
Andrews does an excellent job of placing the massacre in the larger context of both previous labor strife in the area and the violent reprisals that armed bands of miners launched on mine owners, strikebreakers, and militia men in response to the deaths at Ludlow. One of the great strengths of Andrews's account is his integration of environmental history into his narrative at all levels, and not just as an afterthought. The book is as much a history of coal, coal mining, and the reshaping of Colorado's environment as it is a history of the Great Coalfield War of 1914.
--A. M. Berkowitz (Choice