• The Devil Is Here in These Hills

  • West Virginia’s Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom
  • By: James Green
  • Narrated by: Joel Richards
  • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From before the dawn of the 20th century until the arrival of the New Deal, one of the most protracted and deadly labor struggles in American history was waged in West Virginia. On one side were powerful corporations whose millions bought armed guards and political influence. On the other side were 50,000 mine workers, the nation's largest labor union, and the legendary "miners' angel", Mother Jones. The fight for unionization and civil rights sparked a political crisis verging on civil war that stretched from the creeks and hollows to the courts and the US Senate. In The Devil Is Here in These Hills, celebrated labor historian James Green tells the story of West Virginia and coal like never before.

The value of West Virginia's coalfields had been known for decades, and after rail arrived in the 1870s, industrialists pushed fast into the wilderness, digging mines and building company towns where they wielded nearly complete control over everyday life. The state's high-quality coal drove American expansion and industrialization. But for tens of thousands of laborers, including boys as young as 10, mining life showed the bitter irony of the state motto: "mountaineers are always free". Attempts to unionize were met with stiff resistance. Fundamental rights were bent, then broken, and the violence evolved from bloody skirmishes to open armed conflict as an army of miners marched to an explosive showdown. Extensively researched and told in vibrant detail, The Devil Is Here in These Hills is the definitive book on an essential chapter in the history of American freedom.

©2015 James Green. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2015 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Devil Is Here in These Hills

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There is more to the story

While the book is meant to steer the reader in a general direction, there is a part of the story that isn't told. When I heard that Booker T. Washington was one of the miners I decided to listen to his book. Booker mentions about how when quite a few of the miners had substantial savings - they would more of less purposefully go on strike. A second mention is that the Socialist Union knew the miner's had some savings and purposely went into the labor camps to drum up support for their cause and subsequently get dues from the miners. Booker felt the miners were no better after a strike than they were before...and somewhat indicates the miners would have been better off continuing to work and keep growing their savings. I would have appreciated the author investigating this perspective.

3 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal labor history, riveting narrative

If you are looking for an in-depth narrative labor history of the West Virginia mine wars, then look no further. Green’s “The Devil Is Here In These Hills” blends first rate story telling with multifaceted analysis of the land, people, companies, politicians and culture of Appalachian West Virginia. Narrator Joel Richards is first rate. Listened to this audible for hours at a time. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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Probably not what you expect

Great read if you're studying for an intro level college class. I really expected more stories or rather more detailed stories. The performance was great.

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excellent

enjoyed the WV history. well researched. learned a ton about WV. well done. well done.

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great book

loved it kept me going the whole time. lots of hidden history gems. highly recommend

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An Important Historical Book

This book is well written and VERY informative. The only problem I had with it, is that the narrator got so many location and peoples names wrongly pronounced there were too many to count. Otherwise I enjoyed this book.

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A+





Overall great history of the West Virginia coal wars telling what happened from the people that was there.

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Horrifying

I didn’t know anything about this chapter in american history. I’m shocked and horrified by it. The book was excellent.