In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

184 Western American Literature ing “the radiance / nothing survives.” In “Then Be Desert Air,” he struggles with the ego and its confines: And the mind’sblue prism relents, no longer picking its way through bleeding tableaux. My ambitions? My father’s? Forget them awhile. Except for a few moments where it gets too freighted with abstrac­ tions (e.g., “annihilation centers the sacred/ where all illumination / im­ plodes”), this is a book which excites with a language sharp and granitic as the Rockies. Its metaphors work because there is a strong literal world beneath them; the paths Saner travels are made of dirt and stone, not archetypes. Its central drama — the struggle to overcome the many varieties of his alienation — is one we can share. And the surrender he makes is not to the “stone propositions” of the mountains but to love, praise, and the shadow. BILL TREMBLAY Colorado State University The Hardrock Miners: A History of the Mining Labor Movement in the American West, 1863-1893. By Richard E. Lingenfelter. (Berkeley: Uni­ versity of California Press, 1981. viii + 278 pages, + bibliography, illustra­ tions and index. $30.00 cloth, $9.95 paper.) In many respects, the history of the nineteenth century western hardrock mining labor movement is a history of the hardrock miner. From Cali­ fornia to Colorado and from Idaho to Arizona, many miners drifted from shaft to shaft with a union as their only real home. The hardrock miner was more skilled than his more glamorous placer counterpart and also suffered more hazards. Although they dreamed of quick fortune, their hopes quickly dissipated and their concerns were $4 and eight hours a day. The deep lode mines required capital, which most American miners lacked, and skill which they had in abundance. An individual hardrock miner was converted from an individual into a cog in a corporate machine. While the miners toiled in the deep hazardous shafts, the owners reaped some of the greatest profits in the annals of mining history. Richard Lingenfelter has written a thorough narrative on the hardrock miners’ labor movement. It is a much needed account and contributes sig­ nificantly to both mining and labor history. Lingenfelter has utilized num­ erous newspapers and government documents. The results are refreshing, and his analysis is both perceptive and convincing. The author views the Reviews 185 hardrock miner from the perspective of the union and how those unions fought for the economic and physical welfare of the individual. He also has constructed a national-origin profile of the miner. According to Lingenfelter, the hardrock miner was usually foreign-born, either in Ireland or Cornwall. Only about twenty percent were native-born Americans, and the Orientals were excluded from union participation. These miners, usually single, banded together for survival during an age of eco­ nomic Darwinism. As union men, they were very successful. Whether it was at the Comstock or in Butte or the Coeur d’Alenes the unions were a collec­ tive force for continuity. The battles over wages, hours, and working con­ ditions were constant, but the various locals banded together and usually won, often after violence. Lingenfelter concludes his study with the organization of the Western Federation of Miners, in 1893. The numerous strikes predominate the narrative, yet there is an underlying theme of a social and political struggle. The militant WFM was a natural evolution for the labor movement. As corporations closed mines, slashed wages, and decreased benefits, the miners became more violent. The author feels that the control agencies were often hand in glove with the mine owners and this created too much collu­ sion and no objectivity. This is an excellent book and is necessary for a complete understanding of the history of labor unions in the West. F. ROSS PETERSON, Utah State University Wild Freedom. By Max Brand. (1922; New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1981. 231 pages, $8.95.) Max Brand is still in business. Wild Freedom, originally published in Western Story magazine under the same title but under one of Frederick Faust’s eighteen other pseudonyms, George Owen Baxter, is now a hardback Silver Star western with Dodd &Mead. It is now marketed under the name of Max Brand, Faust’s...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 184-185
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.