When I was approached about writing a blog on good summer reading, I knew exactly what book I would write about—Barbara Kingsolver’s first book, which was non-fiction, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983. I read this book for the first time when I was in graduate school. I was taking a seminar on politics and organizations from Cal Morrill and Mayer Zald. I am not sure which one of them, or both, had decided to include the book, but it was fantastic. From a stylistic perspective, it’s great summer reading because Kingsolver brings all of the novelist’s intrigue and style into this non-fiction work (which also makes it a wonderful monograph for an undergraduate class). Her exceptional writing makes the book an effortless read and yet the lessons you can take from the book might haunt you for years, as they have for me.
Substantively, the focus of the book is on the Great Mine Strike of 1983 in Arizona. Phelps Dodge is the primary antagonist in the story, and the unions representing minors in several Arizona cities are the protagonists. Continue reading