OVERRIDE

Mother Jones

The Most Dangerous Woman in America

Elliott J. Gorn

Hill and Wang

Her rallying cry was famous: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." Mother Jones (1837-1930) was a celebrated organizer and agitator, the very soul of protest movements in the early twentieth century. At coal strikes, steel strikes, railroad, textile, and brewery strikes, Mother Jones was always there, stirring the workers to action and enraging the powerful.

When Mother Jones began her career as a "hell-raiser," as she put it, she was as obscure as an American could be—poor, female, elderly, Irish, and widowed. She had survived the Irish potato famine, the death of her husband and children of yellow fever, and the great Chicago fire, and was facing the hard life of a seamstress growing old alone. Then she recreated herself as Mother Jones, and became one of the most famous women in America. Men and women, young and old, rallied around Mother Jones, fighting with her for the rights of workers in an age when families lived on a dollar a day and bosses told them to be thankful for it. With flaming speeches and sensational street theater, Mother Jones exposed disturbing truths about child labor, the poverty of working families, and the destruction of American freedoms—and legends of her bravery before gun-toting thugs and frequent imprisonments grew almost overnight.

Here, Elliott Gorn provides the first comprehensive biography of this remarkable American, the woman whom the poet Carl Sandburg called "a wonder." Gorn's energetic prose and dramatic storytelling make clear why, in the words of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones "has won her way into the hearts of the nation's toilers, and . . . will be lovingly remembered by their children and their children's children forever."

REVIEWS

Praise for Mother Jones

"Imaginatively written and meticulously researched biography." --Elizabeth Sherman, The Boston Sunday Globe

"Elliott Gorn's outstanding and dramatic new biography of Mother Jones reacquaints us with this extraordinary figure . . ." --Benjamin L. Alpers, Chicago Tribune

"[A] lively, well-honed biography . . . Admirable." --David S. Reynolds, The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Elliott J. Gorn

  • Elliott J. Gorn, a professor of history at Purdue University, is the co-author of A Brief History of American Sports and author of The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America.
  • Elliott J. Gorn
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    Available Formats and Book Details

    Mother Jones

    The Most Dangerous Woman in America

    Elliott J. Gorn

    Society of Midland Authors Book Awards - Nominee
    • Trade Paperback

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Hill and Wang

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