Book cover Jim Green 2015 history West VA Coal Mining

Dazzling reviews for Dr. Jim Green’s epic new labor history “The Devil Is Here in These Hills.” WGBH to film book for its “American Experience” series.

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James Green Ph.D.

   James Green Ph.D.

Dr.  James Green, the great labor historian (and a cherished faculty member for both the University of Massachusetts Boston AND the Labor Guild’s School) has just published his latest book THE DEVIL IS HERE in THESE HILLS: West Virginia’s Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom has received marvelous national reviews. Available at Jim’s excellent website which is packed with an NPR interview and many features. Also available in hardcover and kindle at, Barnes & Noble and other top online booksellers and bookstores.

WGBH Acquires Rights to “The Devil Is Here In These Hills”

WGBH, the PBS station in Boston, has acquired the rights to James Green’s The Devil is Here in These Hills. His book will be the basis of a television documentary to be broadcast in the American Experience series. The documentary will be produced, directed and written by Randal MacDowell and his associates at The Film Posse, also based in Boston.


James Green Writes About the Bloody History of West Virinia Mine Workers

Book cover Jim Green 2015 history West VA Coal Mining“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 d’ecades, 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 ten, 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.”

Praise for The Devil is Here in These Hills:

“The story James Green has to tell … is among the best and largely forgotten American stories. It’s about property rights versus human rights, about hard men and women and about violent conflict. It’s a tale about a working-class insurgency that’s as piney as an Appalachian ballad.”

—Dwight Garner, Book Critic, New York Times

“James Green has resurrected an important, searing piece of our heritage—and just the kind of thing your high school American History teacher didn’t teach you. His lively and moving account of the West Virginia mine wars is a reminder of how painfully long people in this country had to fight to gain even barely decent wages and working conditions. And, as today’s gap between the 1% and everyone else grows ever wider, the era of the robber barons he evokes so well doesn’t seem that far away.”

—Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars and King Leopold’s Ghost

“The most comprehensive and comprehendible history of the West Virginia Coal War I’ve ever read. Jim Green has made sense of a half century of violent confrontation.”

—John Sayles, writer and director of Matewan

“James Green’s astonishing book deftly depicts a multinational and interracial group of hard-bitten men, rallied by an Irish-born grandmother, who waged a war for democracy that lasted forty years. . . . As Americans grow increasingly concerned about global capital’s oppression of workers, we would do well to understand how and why it happened here and what it took to stop it.”

—Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, C. Vann Woodward Professor of History, Yale University

James Green is a historian and the author of six books on American labor and radical movements, including “Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America”.

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