In honor of the fact that February 14th, 2012, is the 100th anniversary of Arizona's statehood (it was the 48th state to join the union, the last until Alaska and Hawaii in 1959), the book being reviewed this month tells the story (from one writer's viewpoint) of the Arizona mine strike of 1983. Titled Holding the Line, it's written by a favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver, and it's actually the first book she wrote, before she began her celebrated novels (some of which have been reviewed in prior issues of this newsletter). It's the story of how people's lives (in particular, women's lives) were transformed by an eighteen-month strike against the Phelps Dodge Copper Corporation.
“The story could begin on the day Flossie Navarro sashayed into the mine on the wind of World War II. Or it could begin much earlier than that. In every season since the earth's face was opened for dredging, women have worked in mines and they have fought for the safety and survival of miners. And always, it wasn't exactly supposed to be that way. The hostility Flossie stirred as a miner still persists in Arizona's copper pits, and is a tradition probably as old as mining itself, rooted in the mineral-rich soils of the Andes where the Incas opened mines before European ships ever touched the Americas' shores. The keepers of these ancient Andean mines in the Bolivian altiplano have always described their world as two separate domains: one above ground, and one underneath. A benevolent, matronly earth goddess oversees growing crops and family life. But the stony underground world carved out by miners seeking copper, tin, and silver – that is the devil's domain.”
Holding the Line is a story of courage and integrity, resolution and survival, and a passion for economic justice. Both clear and emotional, it's the story of women who try to get a fair shake in their workplace and realize at the same time that they can stop at nothing short of control over their entire lives.
Be sure to read all about it!
Copyright © 2012, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.