The Women of the Copper Country: A Novel (Hardcover)

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The early 1900s copper production was Michigan's most profitable industry and nearly made Calumet its capital.  There were so many immigrants from around the world working in the mines, that Calumet had 8 different daily foreign language newspapers!  This meant thousands of jobs for any man brave or crazy enough to descend into the mines to harvest the valuable ore. The owners of the mines were far more focused on production rates and quotas than their workers' safety, and that’s where Big Annie Clemenc came in.  Known as "America’s Joan of Arc," Annie became determined to make the mines a safer place to work ...even if it meant challenging the powerful Calumet & Hecla Mining Company and its intimidating, ruthless manager, James MacNaughton.  This is a fascinating and dramatic chapter of Michigan's history, brought to life by Mary Doria Russell's skillful writing. Don’t miss it!

— From Matt

Mary Doria Russell has produced a meticulously researched treasure of historical fiction detailing the real-life events of the 1913-14 strike against the largest copper mining company in the world in Calumet, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.   
Anna Klobuchar of Calumet was known, to her consternation, as Big Annie most of her growing-up years due to her height.   From her teen years, Annie worked for various charities and churches to support the families of injured or killed miners.  At eighteen and over six feet tall, she marries Joe Clements, a miner and a man taller than herself.   
After another mining death, a strike is called in July 2013.  Union organizer, (fictional) Charlie Miller arrives in town and finds his best weapon to be the Women’s Auxiliary of Local 15, the Western Federation of Miners, led by Annie – then 25 years old, their founder.  Marches, demonstrations, food and clothing banks are tirelessly organized to support up to 9,000 striking miners and their families.  To get national coverage, Charlie brings in photojournalist, (fictional) Michael Sweeney who finds his inspiration in Annie, carrying a flag on a ten-foot pole at the front of each march and parade.  She is dubbed the “American Joan of Arc” and national support begins pouring in.  For each victory there is a set-back and a true life disaster almost brings the effort to a halt.
In a company town, where the owners of the mine provide, but can take away, everything – housing, schools, church property, and even the general store – the stakes are high.  
The history of Annie Clements went relatively unnoticed until the 1970s when she was recognized with action by the Michigan State House of Representatives.  In The Women of Copper Country, Mary Doria Russell does her proud.

— From Karen McCue


From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow comes an inspiring historical novel about “America’s Joan of Arc” Annie Clements—the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.

In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements had seen enough of the world to know that it was unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the copper-mining town of Calumet, Michigan where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and had barely enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren’t coming home. When Annie decides to stand up for herself, and the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle.

In Annie’s hands lie the miners’ fortunes and their health, her husband’s wrath over her growing independence, and her own reputation as she faces the threat of prison and discovers a forbidden love. On her fierce quest for justice, Annie will discover just how much she is willing to sacrifice for her own independence and the families of Calumet.

From one of the most versatile writers in contemporary fiction, this novel is an authentic and moving historical portrait of the lives of the men and women of the early 20th century labor movement, and of a turbulent, violent political landscape that may feel startlingly relevant to today.

About the Author

Widely praised for her meticulous research, fine prose, and compelling narrative drive, Mary Doria Russell is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow, Children of God, A Thread of Grace, Dreamers of the Day, Doc, and Epitaph. Dr. Russell holds a PhD in biological anthropology. She lives in Lyndhurst, Ohio.

Praise For…

“Historical fiction that feels uncomfortably relevant today.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Fictionalized history with an important message that will resonate with contemporary readers.”
— Booklist

"Carefully researched . . . . a worthwhile counterpoint to historical writing centered on 'great men.'"
— Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982109585
ISBN-10: 1982109580
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 6th, 2019
Pages: 352
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