“Yes, and the day that the LABOR UNIONS passes out then woe be to the people in this great COUNTRY of OURS, for it shall really cease to exist and the COUNTRY will be just a GHOST of its former self. Mark that and well.”
-William Dalrymple, 1951
Although unions are by no means entirely gone or lacking in lobbying power, their membership in traditional industries is on the decline and their influence continues to diminish. Only a generation ago, large unions such as the United Mine Workers of America held greater political and economic capital and inspired millions beyond their immediate ranks.
In Carbon County, USA, Christian Wright explores the complex history of the UMWA and coal mining in the West over a fifty-year period of the twentieth century, concentrating on the coal miners of Carbon and Emery counties in Utah. Wright emphasizes their experience during the 1970s, which saw the rise and passing of American workers’ most successful postwar effort to internally reform a major labor organization: the Miners for Democracy movement.
A book is a project that encapsulates far more of an author’s life than ever fits between its pages. Carbon County, USA, the blog, exists to share the world behind the book, the story of its journey from a 2008 notion to a 2020 publication and beyond.