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Posted June 1, 2001
All Compassionate Conservatives Should Read This Book
I was pleased with the book. It provided the content and background on the Ludlow killings and the 1913-14 labor troubles in the southern Colorado coal fields that I was seeking. The rest of the book was an unexpected bonus. The author chronicled those troubled times through his principal character, Louis Tikas, a young, raw Greek immigrant who used his talents in language and interpersonal relationships to rise above the brutally hard labor in the pits. As the harsh conditions and viscous intolerance in the coal fields worsened and labor resistance stiffened, Louis emerged as a union organizer and negotiator, respected by his immigrant Greek peers and despised by coal company executives and their hired guns. The author, a well-educated, Greek American writer, shows a strong sense of comradeship, deep respect, and compassion for his first-generation immigrant countrymen whose dangerous, mindless, and endless physical labor paved the way to a better life in America. In writing the book, the author interviewed participants and researched activists and important players on both sides. He visited the Ludlow Monument, old Greek coffee houses, and vacant lots where once stood buildings in which Louis lived and worked. He visited Louis's home village in Crete; he poured over historical archives, newspaper accounts, union records, and personal correspondence. The author's obsession with knowing Louis Tikas and with giving his life meaning and purpose impacted the book in a positive way. He tells a gripping story of dangerous mines, company 'housing', the company store, 'underweighting' at the tipple, hoodwinked scab workers, and ethnic intolerance. The Rockefeller's wealth, opulence, and privilege by divine edict contrast vividly with the polyglot cultural scene, linguistic diversity, and squalor that defined an early twentieth-century, southern Colorado coal camp. As the story unfolds, the reader can sympathize with the desperate plight of the strikers and recoil at the rattling Gatling gun, the beatings and intimidation, and the tent burnings. We should be thankful that in the intervening years, the tide in America turned toward occupational safety, ethnic and racial tolerance, respect for working men and women, and a decent wage. Tax-and-spend liberals will love this book; compassionate conservatives will ignore it. Those interested in American history, the labor movement, and in just, fair play in America will find the book thought-provoking and thoroughly interesting reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.