This historical novel is as significant to the present as it is to the past. As a work of fiction, Hellraiser — Mother Jones: An Historical Novel is a more intimate account of the iconoclastic life and times of Mary Harris Jones, who fought for the rights of the working class and against child labor from the Civil War to the Great Depression. When author Jerry Ash set out to write Hellraiser, he intended to simply gather into one book all that was known and unknown of the 65-year history of Mother Jones’ career, telling the story in a more intimate fashion. As the story unfolds, the reader is taken back in time to witness and learn the social, political and economic lessons of the dark side of the American Industrial Revolution. “As it turns out,” says Ash, “Mother Jones used the novel to retell her story in a way that gives new perspective, not only to the economic inequalities of the past, but as seen today between the super rich and the working poor.” A study in contrasts between the goals and objectives of capitalism and democracy, the book is a journey through some of the most dramatic episodes of American history from post Civil War insurrections and riots, to the historic Chicago Fire and the rise of big business and big labor. “Telling the story through Mother Jones required me to get inside her skin, climb inside her body, see through her eyes, think through her mind, feel through her heart.” The novel is an action-packed story being told by Mother Jones during the five months she spends in jail in the southern coalfields of West Virginia, where she faces charges of murder before a military court martial. She raises hell for workers in coalfields from there to Colorado, in the cotton mills of the Carolinas to the textile mills of New York, and with Mexican laborers from Arizona to Mexico. Most importantly, the novel brings the story of Mother Jones full circle, comparing the issues of her time to the social, political and economic troubles of the present.
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