From Publishers Weekly
Four strong, entirely different voices evoke the passion and the pain of unionizing the coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia in the early 20th century. The canvas is broad, the action complex but even minor characters quicken to life in this memorable, beautifully written novel. The inhabitants of the hills of Appalachia see their beloved land stolen by the coal companies; forced to work in the mines, they are cheated out of their pay. Families starve, die of malaria and dysentery and slowly, almost against their will, begin the fearsome job of fighting back. In 1921, an army of 10,000 workers marches on a single town. The coal companies, the police and finally the federal government close in; hundreds are killed and the man who masterminded the attack is shot. As fast paced and compulsively readable as a thriller, this novel never overlooks the gentler pleasure of living on the land, falling in love, raising a family. Stunning sensory images sear scenes on the mind's eye. Giardina (Good King Harry has written one of those rare books that portrays a small world with impeccable clarity while telling an exciting story in vigorous, elegant prose.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA This well-written novel is an earnest recreation of the turbulent events in the West Virginia coal fields during the early decades of this century. The ties of the people to land and family are the book's soul, and their violent confrontations with those who took their land and tried to take their dignity are its body. Because it is well into the story before the lives of most of the characters intersect and because the book builds to a climax of bloody repression of a strike, this may not have universal appeal to young adults. But those who reach at least as far as the black union organizer's fiery death in a company furnace are likely to finish and appreciate this tale of injustice met by bravery. Mike Parsons, Houston Public Library
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.