King Coal by Upton Sinclair (Heathen Edition)

King Coal

Spine #2
Upton Sinclair
First Edition
September 1917
Heathen Edition
September 16, 2018
February 2, 2023
Heathen Genera
Rebellion 101
Paperback ISBN
Hardcover ISBN

The roar of the mob rolled down the street and back again. “We’ll not stand it! We’ll not stand it!” Men shook their clenched fists, women shrieked, even children shouted curses. “We’ll fight them! We’ll slave no more for them!”

And Mary found a magic word. “We’ll have a union!” she shouted. “We’ll get together and stay together! If they refuse us our rights, we’ll know what to answer–we’ll have a strike!”

There was a roar like the crashing of thunder in the mountains. Yes, Mary had found the word! For many years it had not been spoken aloud in North Valley, but now it ran like a flash of gunpowder through the throng. “Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike!” It seemed as if they would never have enough of it. Not all of them had understood Mary’s speech, but they knew this word, “Strike!” They translated and proclaimed it in Polish and Bohemian and Italian and Greek. “Strike! Strike! Strike!”

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), a self-described socialist propagandist, was a prolific American author and trailblazing social crusader who sought to uncloak the “wage slavery” of workers by pioneering investigative journalism known as “muckraking.” His 1906 exposé The Jungle blew the whistle on deplorable sanitary and labor conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry, triggering a thunderous public outrage that contributed to the swift passage of both the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. Following the Ludlow Massacre — the seminal event of the 1913–1914 Colorado Coalfield War, and a strike identified as “one of the most grueling, long-lasting industrial conflicts in the history of the United States” — Sinclair focused his reformer attention on the coal mining industry with his 1917 novel King Coal, wherein the fuse ignites when Hal Warner relentlessly organizes a strike to help fellow coal miners unionize against a corrupt and exploitative coal baron, erupting in an explosive climax.

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"Too much of what Sinclair writes about remains a problem in mines today."
Susan Williams
Charleston Gazette-Mail