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The Last Ballad

Tekijä: Wiley Cash

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5024849,057 (3.86)79
Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:

The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman's struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash's Serena, Dennis Lehane's The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill's owners??the newly arrived Goldberg brothers??white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May's best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it's the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county's biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement??a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town??indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May's daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America??and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash's place among our nation's fines… (lisätietoja)

  1. 00
    Serena (tekijä: Ron Rash) (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These novels set during the Depression explore workers' rights from different perspectives. Serena is violent and dark while The Last Ballad is moving and inspiring; both examine the courage and cowardice of players on each side of the labor movement.… (lisätietoja)
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» Katso myös 79 mainintaa

Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 49) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I can't believe that I hadn't read this book yet. It's been moved to two houses in three years, but I always knew where it was. So, I finally pulled it down and read it. I knew it would break my heart, as his books tend to do, but it was amazing. This book is about the early days of the labor unions trying to unionize the mills in NC in 1929. Ella May Wiggins works six days a week, twelve-hour shifts for $9.00 a week which has to feed, house and feed her four children. In the author's notes, you will find out that she was a relative of Wiley Cash. One that was generations ahead of her time, but was also written out of the local NC history until Cash enrolled in graduate school on Louisiana in 2003. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Apr 29, 2024 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Cash is such a good storyteller that even when he makes some mis-steps, I still enjoy the journey. In this novel, he tells the story of Ella May (a real person), a poor young woman from the mountains of Tennessee who finds herself leading efforts to organize an integrated labor union in North Carolina. In his Afterword, Cash notes the various connections he had to this little known piece of history but that he didn't learn about it until he was in graduate school. I admire Cash's desire to tell this story.

Much of the book is very good, but a few things didn't work for me. He includes a number of perspectives, so that the story is not just Ella's but also that of others involved. This works to good effect in some cases, but a couple of the perspectives were not full enough to move beyond the superfluous. He also, especially in the beginning, does a lot of "telling" and not enough "showing" about the mills and workers and their situation.

All in all, though, this was a good read.

4 stars ( )
  katiekrug | Apr 15, 2024 |
This is my 3rd book from this author and my least favorite. The main character, Ella, seems to just be led by the nose by those with agendas and does not think about the true consequences of her decisions. It was clear she was doomed from early on. The story seems to go over a longer period of time than it really does. Some of the characters were thinly drawn and I didn't care about them. Don't really recommend this one. ( )
  jldarden | Jun 1, 2023 |
Historical fiction set mostly in 1929 in North Carolina where mill workers are trying to organize. They are striking for higher wages and better working conditions. They are opposed by mill owners and a group of local residents who associate unions with “Bolshevists.” Protagonist Ella May Wiggins is abandoned by her husband and joins the union movement after struggling to feed her children on nine dollars per seventy-hour work week. She works at one of the few racially integrated mills. She wants the union to include blacks in their ranks but is resisted by other mill workers.

The story is told from eight different perspectives in two timelines. It is based on the life of a real person. Ella Wiggins is a distant relative of the author. He had grown up in the same region of the American south but had not heard her story until he was in college.

It is a beautifully written, tragic story. The only downside, for me, is the eight perspectives. I found I was just getting into one person’s account, when the narrative shifts to something completely different. It does not flow as well as some, but it is a moving account and one I am glad to have read.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Today is a tough day for me. I lost my sweet Fluffy, a cat who was more like my baby than my pet. He brightened my life for the last eighteen years, and I am at a loss to know what I am going to do without him. Additionally, I just came off a very hard and solemn read of A Fine Balance, so maybe the gloomy and foreboding book was not the best choice. So, I’m willing to concede that my timing might be part of what made this book never achieve the pinnacle it reaches for, but I think some of the credit goes to the writing and structure as well.

I was very interested in the premise of this book--it is based on a true story, and that alone lends it instant credibility. While I felt for Ella May, the human face of the efforts to unionize the mills in several small North Carolina mill towns, I never felt attached to her. There are books that make you feel you are inside another person’s skin, and ones that make you just an observer...the inside the skin books are always my favorites. I want to imagine I have walked a mile in that person’s shoes. I was always observing Ella May.

One of the things that did not work for me was the abrupt switch from chapter one, 1929 third-person Ella May, to chapter two, 2005 first-person Lily, her daughter. Of course, many people use this device, but here it seemed not to have any other purpose than to acquaint us with Ella May’s ultimate fate, and I felt that would have served better if revealed at its time in the story. It also broke the flow of the story for me, and I had a difficult time recommitting to the tale. It seemed particularly odd since Cash then resumes telling the story from the 1929 point of view and never reverts to Lily again until the final chapter, which serves as a kind of epilogue.

Undeniably, Ella May’s story is a sad one and she was an unbelievably brave woman. In her circumstances and with four children to consider, I’m sure I would have been one of those continuing to slave at the mill and hoping to just go under the radar. She put everything on the line to try and improve her circumstances and those of her children, and that can only elicit admiration from those of us at a safe remove.

What nags at me about the novel is that I felt I ought to love it, but I didn’t. It ought to have informed my understanding of the times and the place, but, again, it didn’t. I appreciate that this is a moment in history that deserves to be remembered and examined, I just never felt connected enough to anyone to feel I had been there or experienced any of the events portrayed.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 49) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Inspired by the events of an actual textile-mill strike in 1929, Cash (This Dark Road to Mercy, 2014, etc.) creates a vivid picture of one woman’s desperation... Although it is initially a bit difficult to keep so many points of view straight, it is satisfying to see them all connect. It’s refreshing that Cash highlights the struggles of often forgotten heroes and shows how crucial women and African-Americans were in the fight for workers’ rights.

A heartbreaking and beautifully written look at the real people involved in the labor movement.
 
Powerful and poignant, North Carolina author Wiley Cash’s third and best novel tells the story of Ella May...Beyond Ella’s personal story, this is the very best kind of historical novel — one whose events are largely nonfiction, and whose characters, invented though they may be, probably closely resemble the souls who did walk the Earth during that time. Cash is a fine and subtle writer, who tells an American story painful in the way the most authentic American stories are — replete with personal, political, sexual, racial and class strife, yet redeemed by gritty individual and community faith in a better, fairer world.
 

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Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Wiley Cashensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
White, KarenKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Wiley, ElizabethKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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Ella May knew she wasn't pretty, had always known it.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

-

Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:

The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman's struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash's Serena, Dennis Lehane's The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill's owners??the newly arrived Goldberg brothers??white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May's best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it's the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county's biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement??a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town??indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May's daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America??and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash's place among our nation's fines

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