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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. I first read Storming Heaven when it came out 30 years ago. Denise Giardina tells this important story effectively through four first person perspectives, in their own language. That would warrant dropping my rating to four stars except that the other three characters and several additional characters are so well developed. And Giardina has told the story very well. The dialect of the region of course, slowed my reading initially.
Much of the story coincided with some of the stories I heard from family. It is a shame that American History during my school years did not convey the information of our National Forces being sent in to kill our citizens who were risking death every day by entering the coal mines to feed industries that relied on the coal. Too many died trying to fight for fair wages. Thanks to Denise Giardina for telling the story.
The author takes some pretty serious liberties with history, which is fine, just don't come to this book expecting to meet Sid Hatfield swaggering around or see many Baldwin-Felts thugs get what's coming to them or anything like that. It's more of a family saga than a historical fiction. The writing is okay--most of the characters have believable motivations and so forth, the geography is spot-on I'm from near a lot of the locations mentionedmy grandma lived in Jenkinjones for a long time, for example which was fun for me.
If you want a fictionalized history of one of the least-talked about parts of American history I am now married to a coal miner as well. First of all I will have to say that I loved this book from beginning to end. The only problem I had with it is that the language is a little hard to understand. I understand some people in West Viriginia talk like this, but most of us do not. But, This book is so amazing and while I was reading it I felt like I was 7 again at my Great-Grandfather's house listening to his many stories about coal mining in the old days.
I feel that this is a part of history that often gets looked over. How many people know that? I read this book my junior year of college in my West Virginia History class. I not only feel like it is great West Virginia history, but American History as well. I can not praise this book enough! Everyone should read it! Thanks so much Ms. Giardina for bringing this tale of the struggles of coal miners to life!
Between and , one million people moved to the coal fields of West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. Hundreds of thousands of folks who were already there were sucked into the coal mines or run off their lands into the coal mines by the combination of big coporations and the governments they bought from Washington down to each county and town. Some were mountaineers from the region, some were immigrants from Italy, Hungary, and Poland, and some like my grandfather Henry Hudson Jones were Black miners from Alabama who thought they could make more money and have less Jim Crow up there.
This book is the story of those people and the struggles they had with the coal companies and the bosses' government. Storming Heaven should be required reading in those classes. We owe it to those who lived through these horrors and gave their lives to give us the workers' rights we have today. Without exception - Storming Heaven is my favorite book.
Jun 18, Patricia rated it it was ok. I read a review once in which the reviewer talked about the fact that her bookseller knows what she likes to read: She had read this book, Storming Heaven, years ago and loved it so much that she had continued to search out novels on the same subject. So that prompted me to get it and read it. It was OK, but it had, in my eyes, a number of problems. It is set in the coal mines of West Virginia in the early 's and a major part of the plot is the effort to unio I read a review once in which the reviewer talked about the fact that her bookseller knows what she likes to read: It is set in the coal mines of West Virginia in the early 's and a major part of the plot is the effort to unionize the mines.
The author didn't incorporate enough background information into the story to make me feel as though I really knew what was going on in the main battle between mine owners and strikers. The characters were also not very well developed and the way narrator changed constantly--a different character for each chapter--didn't help me feel connected to any one of them. I am very interested in the early history of unions in this country; I would have been far happier if I had just read a non-fiction book on the subject. Oct 26, Suzanne rated it really liked it Recommended to Suzanne by: Storming Heaven is a work of historical fiction depicting the formation of the coal miner's union in early 20th century West Virginia.
Giardina presents each chapter with the perspective of various characters, including a coal miner, a union activist, a nurse and an immigrant. Because of the style of narrative, the language of these people really comes across and it does take a while to read the Appalachian dialect comfortably. That said, it was a very moving novel. It's a hard look back at a tim Storming Heaven is a work of historical fiction depicting the formation of the coal miner's union in early 20th century West Virginia. It's a hard look back at a time when workers were treated as little more than slaves, held captive by the powerful companies they worked for.
Local law enforcement, rather than helping these poor men and their families, were recruited by the coal companies to serve their crooked interests. Hope comes in the form of union organizers, but the coal companies are determined to fight back, using guerrilla tactics. Giardina portrays the culmination of her story in the Battle of Blair Mountain, a true story of the West Virginia coal strike, and it's bloody outcome. Jan 24, Lisa H. This is one of my all-time favorite books. My great-grandfather, having come from Scotland where his family had been farmers, ended up in the "Scottish settlement" in eastern Ohio and found employment in the coal mines there.
By the time of the coal mine war in West Virginia early s , he would have been in his 50s and I doubt he was much involved in unionization efforts, if at all. Still, this novel's depiction of the hardships of deep shaft coal mining and the early days of the United Mine This is one of my all-time favorite books. Still, this novel's depiction of the hardships of deep shaft coal mining and the early days of the United Mineworkers remind me of what he must have experienced. Oct 04, Brett rated it really liked it Shelves: Moving book about labor struggles in the West Virginia coal mines.
A reminder of exactly how brutal the history of oppression of working people in the US is. Mountain accents aside, a pretty easy read. Though ideologically appealing to me, not a lot of interior life to many of the characters. I think th Moving book about labor struggles in the West Virginia coal mines.
This is a fine, moving book. Some were mountaineers from the region, some were immigrants from Italy, Hungary, and Poland, and some like my grandfather Henry Hudson Jones were Black miners from Alabama who thought they could make more money and have less Jim Crow up there. See All Goodreads Deals…. Oct 04, Brett rated it really liked it Shelves: After Admiral Hardcastle warns the world about America's lack of guards against terrorism, the horrors begin. I also appreciate her basically sympathetic treatment of Christianity; the rebel preacher Albion Freeman is a particularly appealing character, though I disagree with some aspects of his theology his pacifism, and his theory of ultimate universal salvation --views which probably reflect Episcopal lay preacher Giardina's own. It was fascinating and heartbreaking, all at the same time.
I think the ideal audience for this book is probably young adults. Jan 15, Rita Reese rated it it was amazing. I went back and forth about stars--the history in this book is incredible, and the narrative is really solid. It didn't have the complexity of character of books that really knock me out, like Property by Valerie Martin or By Blood by Ullman, but that doesn't even seem like a relevant criticism.
I wish I'd read this book years ago and I wish everyone would read it now, particularly in states like Wisconsin where unions are being attacked and vilified.
I can't believe this hasn't been made in I went back and forth about stars--the history in this book is incredible, and the narrative is really solid. I can't believe this hasn't been made into a movie. Feb 21, Aj rated it really liked it Shelves: I almost never give five stars, but I want to give this one four and a half. A beautiful, wrenching tale exquisitely wrought. Reading this novel felt like the mint salve my granny prepared for sweat bee stings. One of those books that holds a mirror to the history that I understand and helps me to understand there is much more to come to know.
Jun 01, Caleb Rose rated it it was amazing. I read this book once a year. One of my top 10 books. Jun 14, Lisa rated it liked it. This is a moving account of early attempts to unionize the coal mines of West Virginia. It's more like 3. I loved the story, but reading all the dialect caused new to lose the thread of the plot a few times. Good topic and I liked the four character narration, but one of the characters barely is involved and you get little from her point of view.
I also had a very hard time keeping all of the characters straight in the book. Jan 13, Wendy Hart rated it it was amazing. May 01, David Shelby rated it it was amazing Shelves: Another of Giardina's best, this Appalachian masterpiece tells the heartbreaking story of men and women exploited by a heartless company and how they lost their homes, and often their lives, as a result.
The novel is tragic and brutal and important for anyone to read. Each character's struggles are compelling and well worth reading, and the latter half has plenty of action to keep a reader invested. May 15, Joe Stack rated it really liked it. This is a highly readable story focusing on the Battle of Blair Mountain, the only time American military aircraft was used against Americans fighting for better working conditions. History comes alive with emotional depth. Very interesting tracing of the history of how coal mining affected the lives of the local people in the coal fields of southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky.
This is written from the perspective of the miners and their families, including the attempts to unionize the miners, leading up to the attack on Blair mountain. My personal issue is that I tend to lose track of various persons when written in the 1st person and the characters keep changing, so I get a bit conf Very interesting tracing of the history of how coal mining affected the lives of the local people in the coal fields of southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky.
My personal issue is that I tend to lose track of various persons when written in the 1st person and the characters keep changing, so I get a bit confused until I am deep into the story. Jan 09, Zane Scott rated it it was amazing. Jun 28, Adrienne rated it it was amazing Shelves: I knew this book was going to break my heart before I was pages in. Mar 15, Robert Kope rated it it was amazing. One of the best books i've ever read. Kind of like "To Kill a Mockingbird" meets hell. Epic, riveting, funny, heartbreaking Jan 06, Mary rated it it was amazing Shelves: Compelling story line, great story.
I want to read her other books. I read this like 30 years ago but forgot everything, so that was lucky to re-experience it! Jul 17, Natylie Baldwin rated it really liked it. Having read quite a bit of U. The tale is told through the alternating view Having read quite a bit of U. The tale is told through the alternating viewpoints of four main characters: Marcum; a tenacious organizer named Rondal; a nurse named Carrie who is in love with Rondal; and, an Italian immigrant named Rosa Angelelli who had all four sons die in the mines.
The first three characters are fully developed and relatable; however, Rosa could have been given more space and voice. As it was, her character seemed a little like an afterthought with only a few brief chapters. Readers should be warned that there are a few scenes of graphic violence. One involved the murder of a black organizer in a particularly heinous manner.
Although the incident described did not shock me on an intellectual level, it was disturbing enough to make me stop and take a break from the book for a couple of days. The scene brought out not just the brutality of the perpetrators but also the courage of the miners as the victim knew what his fate was going to be and met it with as much spiritual courage as a human being could conjure. It had a profound influence on one of the main characters and future events. So, the violence is disturbing but not gratuitous.
A couple of interesting pieces of historical information I picked up from the story: First, what would become the state of West Virginia broke off from Virginia during the Civil War because it did not want to be part of a slave state. Sad that the term has devolved into connoting an ignorant white bigot.
Jul 27, Lindsay Luke rated it it was amazing.
Four strong, entirely different voices evoke the passion and the pain of unionizing the coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia in the early 20th century. Storming Heaven: A Novel and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Storming Heaven: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 12, This item:Storming Heaven: A Novel by Denise Giardina Mass Market Paperback $
This is a historical fiction book that takes place in Appalachia, near the border of West Virginia and Kentucky between and This is the same area where the Hatfields and McCoys were feuding just a few years earlier, although none of these characters mention them. We see railroads and coal companies taking the land of the settlers. With their land gone, they have no choice but to work in the coal mines, living in company towns and at the mercy of the company store.
Any efforts to organ This is a historical fiction book that takes place in Appalachia, near the border of West Virginia and Kentucky between and Any efforts to organize to get better working and living conditions were brutally put down by the coal companies and their hired "gun thugs" from the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency.
The book is based on real but often forgotten events. The author is from that area and it shows in the dialogue and descriptions she uses. It is easy to forget, in this day and age, the hardships that people used to endure and the reason that unions came into being. Aug 22, Stuart Bramhall rated it it was amazing. This has to be my favorite political novel of all time. Giardina, who grew up in a coal camp, has an extremely lyrical - almost poetic - style. She strikes just the right note in juxtaposing the brutal corruption of the mine owners, stealing the land deeds, homes, labor and lives of the entire region - and the energy, excitement and pure romance of the union drive that organizes against immense odds to reclaim its members' rights to a living wage, safe working conditions and personal dignity.
The This has to be my favorite political novel of all time. The union is eventually broken at the end of the book - in part due to the vigilante mine guards that terrorized union members.
In her afterward Giardina fast forwards 12 years to the Roosevelt administration, when a resurgence of the union movement leads to the abolition of the mine guard system. And coal miners win the right to organize. Dec 02, Marilyn rated it it was amazing Shelves: This historical fiction is about the history of coal mining and the Battle of Blair Mountain that took place in What the railroads and then the coal mining companies did to the people of West Virginia and Kentucky was immoral, unethical, and illegal.
However, the federal government backed them entirely. Another day older and deeper in debt. Peter don't you call me because I can't come. I owe my soul to the company store. This historical novel captures the struggle between miners trying to organize and the powerful coal companies that oppressed them. Four memorable characters a union organizer, a Socialist, a nurse, and the wife of an Italian immigrant miner tell their personal stories and describe events that culminated in The Battle of Blair Mountain, a bloody fight that killed many miners and crushed their unionizing initiative.
I This historical novel captures the struggle between miners trying to organize and the powerful coal companies that oppressed them. Giardina, who grew up in a W. She has perfect pitch for dialogue and dialect. She has written a sequel. Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina 1 9 Jun 04, Often labelled an Appalachian writer, or a historical novelist, Denise Giardina describes herself as a theological writer, exploring fundamental issues of faith and belief through literary characters.
Born and raised in the West Virginia coalfields, Giardina is an ordained Episcopal Church deacon, a community activist and a former candidate for the WV state governorship. Her novels, fictionalizing h Often labelled an Appalachian writer, or a historical novelist, Denise Giardina describes herself as a theological writer, exploring fundamental issues of faith and belief through literary characters.
Her novels, fictionalizing historical characters and events, have been critically acclaimed and recognised with a number of literary prizes. Books by Denise Giardina. See All Goodreads Deals…. Trivia About Storming Heaven. No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Storming Heaven. I always feared mountains would be as jealous, as unforgiving, as any spurned lover.