Winner of the Avery O. Craven Prize of the Organization of American Historians Ather Civil War explores a tumultuous era of social change in the anthracite regions of Pennsylvania. Because the Union Army depended on anthracite to fuel steam-powered factories, locomotives, and battle ships, coal miners in Schuylkill, Luzerne, and Carbon Counties played a vital role in the Northern war effort. However, that role was complicated by a history of ethnic, political, and class conflicts: after years of struggle in an unsafe and unstable industry, miners expected to use their wartime ecomic power to win victories for themselves and their families. Yet they were deunced as traitors and draft resisters, and their strikes were broken by Federal troops. Focusing on the social and ecomic impact of the Civil War on a group of workers central to that war, this dramatic narrative raises important questions about industrialization and work-place conflicts in the mid-1860s, about the rise of a powerful, centralized government, and about the ties between government and industry that shaped class relations. It traces the deep, local roots of wartime strikes in the coal regions and demonstrates important links between national politics, military power, and labor organization in the years before, during, and immediately after the Civil War.
Grace Palladino is codirector and an editor of the Samuel Gompers Papers project at the University of Maryland. Her other books are Teenagers: An American History and Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits: A Century of Building Trades History.