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Baker also explores the collaboration between mining families and blacklisted Hollywood filmmakers that resulted in the controversial 1954 film Salt of the Earth. She shows how this worker-artist alliance gave the mining families a unique chance to clarify the meanings of the strike in their own lives and allowed the filmmakers to create a progressive alternative to Hollywood productions. An inspiring story of working-class solidarity, Mexican American dignity, and women's liberation, Salt of the Earth was itself blacklisted by powerful anticommunists, yet the movie has endured as a vital contribution to American cinema.
"Succeeds very well in binding the two stories of Hanover's Empire Zinc strike and the production of Salt of the Earth together. . . . A welcome addition to the literature on labour conflicts and cultural politics during the early Cold War."
— American Communist History
"Baker has written an excellent, refreshingly cross-disciplinary study of Mexican American families involved in the 1950 Empire Zinc strike . . . and the making of the 1954 film Salt of the Earth by blacklisted Hollywood artists."
"Rich in detail and scholarly rigor. . . . Surpasses other studies in presenting the complexity of the Salt of the Earth story."
— New Mexico Historical Review
"Remarkable! . . . A solid example of what a community study should do: it should place the local in the context of the national in order to properly contextualize the analytical conclusions of the author."
— Labor History
"An innovative treatment of the strike's ethnic roots and gendered character that provides a valuable addition to the fields of labor, ethnic, and women's history."
— Journal of American Ethnic History
"The book reflects [Baker's] research into published sources, but she also interviewed a number of the key participants and used numerous archives, government records, and unpublished materials."
— The Journal of American History
Baker accomplishes . . . clarity, nuance, and awareness.
Elizabeth Jameson, University of Calgary
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Grant County's Mining District
Part I. Crisis
Chapter 3. Class Conflict in the Mines, 1930-1950
Chapter 4. Competing Models of Unionism
Part II. The Women's Picket
Chapter 5. Political Consciousness and Community Formation
Chapter 6. Household Relations
Part III. A Worker-Artist Alliance
Chapter 7. The Blacklist
Chapter 8. A Progressive Vision of Popular Culture
Chapter 9. Anticommunist Assaults
Chapter 10. Conclusion