A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska
The story starts in Poland and tells about Anetka Kaminska at a time when Poland was ruled by Russia, Germany and Austria and conditions were not good for the Poles. As a result, many Poles came to the U.S. thinking they could find a decent job, save money and have others of their family and friends move to the U.S. from Poland.
Many of the Poles ended up working at the mines in terribly unsafe conditions. Their bosses cared little about them, considering the mules more important than the foreigners working in the minds. This was also the time of the "company store" where the miners bought their supplies, only to be overcharged by the store and, in effect, end up working just to try to pay off their debt to the company store. (There's a song about "I sold my soul to the company store," but I don't remember the title.)
This novel tells about Anetka's life in Poland, her travel to America, and after her arrival in America where she married a man who didn't really love her; his first wife died and he needed another for his three girls.
There was also a lot of prejudice against the foreigners and acts of violence by Americans against them were not uncommon. In addition, the book tells the story of the Lattimer Massacre when a sheriff and his men opened fire on an unarmed crowd of striking miners, killing at least nineteen of them.
The book also goes into the story of an early union and how it tried to get the miners organized to get better working conditions and more money.
In effect, there is a lot of stuff going on in this book, and it's definitely quite interesting.
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