- Title: Joe Hill
- Author: Wallace Stegner
- ISBN: 9780140139419
- Page: 231
- Format: Paperback
A remarkable portrait of one of American labor s most enduring legends Blending fact with fiction, Wallace Stegner retells the story of Joe Hill, the Wobbly bard who became the stuff of legend when, in 1915, he was executed for the alleged murder of a Salt Lake City businessman Organizer, agitator, Labor s Songster a rebel from the skin inwards, with an absolute faithA remarkable portrait of one of American labor s most enduring legends Blending fact with fiction, Wallace Stegner retells the story of Joe Hill, the Wobbly bard who became the stuff of legend when, in 1915, he was executed for the alleged murder of a Salt Lake City businessman Organizer, agitator, Labor s Songster a rebel from the skin inwards, with an absolute faith in the One Big Union Joe Hill fought tirelessly in the frequently violent battles between organized labor industry But tho songs stories still vaunt him his legend continues to inspire those who feel the injustices he fought against, Joe Hill may not have been a saintly crusader, may have been motivated by impulses darker than the search for justice Joe Hill is full bodied portrait of both the man the myth from his entrance into the short lived Industrial Workers of the World union, the most militant organization in the history of American labor, to his trial, imprisonment final martyrdom his last words to the I.W.W Don t waste time mourning Organize.
Recent Comments "Joe Hill"
"I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me." So goes the Woody Guthrie song about the legend of a union man. He was big and tough. He was no angel. And he was dedicated to the organizing of One Big Union. His personal life didn't seem very important in contrast. That is the impression that Wallace Stegner gives in this fictionalized version of Joseph Hillstrom's life. The book takes you into the dusty IWW union halls, sometimes used as flop houses by itinerant workingmen. You can [...]
This is a book about Joe Hill, the Union Organiser and Wobbly Bard who was executed in 1915 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He of the famous son, sung in the 60's by Joan Baez, "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me".My edition is actually a Penguin edition not shown - which I got from Nile.This is a strange blend of fact and fiction, man and myth written by a wonderful author whose books have recently occupied many hors while in bed sick. Wallace Stegner is a beautiful, magnificent [...]
This was the third book I have read recently that speaks about the violent social upheaval in the 1910s surrounding the start of the labor movement. Interesting to see how unions emerged and then have largely disappeared in 100 years. In the process, I also learned that my mother’s assisted living tablemate is the niece of famous Wobbly martyr, Wesley Everest, who was lynched in Centralia, WA in 1919 following a Veterans Day clash with American Legionnaires. I think I have now read all of Steg [...]
Summary: Wallace Stegner describes this as a “biographical novel” and in it, he fills out the enigmatic life and death of labor organizer and songwriter, Joe Hill, who was executed for murder before a Utah firing squad in November 1915.Maybe you have heard of Joe Hill from the poem “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” by Alfred Hayes set to music by Earl Robinson, and performed at Woodstock by Joan Baez, and a range of singers from Pete Seeger to Bruce Springsteen. Hill (also known as J [...]
Starting from the twin facts of Stegner being my favorite author and Hill being a figure I am predisposed to like in an organization I have pet sympathies for, this should be my favorite book ever. And I did like it. And no, I don't object on political (and certainly not aesthetic) grounds to Stegner's painting Hill as a complicated, largely unsympathetic character. It is pretty transparent, ultimately, how Stegner feels about Hill (good), and his approach to muddying the waters (through the gra [...]
I read this book because it happened to be on the must-read list of my favorite band at the time - Rage Against the Machine. Yes, I will concede that it was an arguably poor reason to read the book, but this book will be forever in my list of favorites. The book is the fictional account of the life and times of Joe Hill - famous union organizer and songwriter. The book gives such a human and ultimately relatable voice to its hero. In this book, Joe is portrayed as a reluctant leader struggling w [...]
Beautiful, complicated insight into the early 1900's labor movement and the psychology of a "voice of the movement".
Not a biography, but a fill in the blanks biographical novel about one of the more interesting characters in Utah history (unknown to most Utahns but memorialized on a mural on the side of Ken Sanders Rare Bookstore), Stephen King's son's namesake, labor organizer, songwriter, and convicted murderer Joe Hill. Stegner leaves mush of the real life mystery mysterious, but leaves the characters a bit flat. Good, not great.
It was worth reading for intimate view of IWW workers and of Joe Hill. The first half of the book had some really lovely writing. Towards the finale, the book dragged on (as did the legal appeals on behalf of Joe Hill).
interesting tale, sometimes a little stodgy, but worth reading. a 3.4
This is one of Stegner’s lesser known novels, but, as always in his works, his plot line, character development and narrative are wonderfully crafted. The story is a fictionalized account of the widely-known labor activist of the early 20th century. Hill was a Swedish immigrant who joined the Industrial Workers of the World – the IWW, also known as the Wobblies. The IWW was a radical trade union who staged organizing campaigns and labor strikes throughout the country, principally in the far [...]
This "fiction" about a real man deals with the plight of union songwriter/agitator Joe Hill in the 1910's. Joe was born Joseph Hillstrom--a Swedish immigrant who lost his naivete with the disappearance of the American dream right before his eyes. In real life he wrote songs for the Industrial Workers of the World calling for a Marxist revolution. He wrote protest songs long before Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, The Clash, or Rage Against the Machine. In real life, he was put on trial in Salt Lake Cit [...]
Boring and unsympathetic/tone deaf. If I were to write a fictional biography of Ronald Reagan or some other political figure whose ideology is mystifying to me, it would probably turn out like this. I think Stegner considers himself to be sympathetic, but so much of this book is condescending to the ideology underpinning the syndicalist movements of the early 20th century, and he looks for simplistic answers to complex questions (why does a European immigrant get involved in radical organizing g [...]
One of Stegner's books describing historic events, he paints a picture of of a driven, somewhat fanatical IWW activist executed for murder in Utah in 1915. Joe Hill became a martyr for union organizers but Stegner's Joe Hill leaves many rough edges and unanswered questions. Stegner is a master story teller. I'm sure he based some of this on actual records, quotes from newspapers of the day and court records, etc, but his descriptions and dialogues put you in that farm field in Fresno in 1912 or [...]
In he closing statements of the Afterward Stegner clarifies that this book is "Historical Fiction". I must say that is is superb historical fictionJoe Hillstrom met death by a firing squad in SLC, Ut after being convicted of 1st degree murder. Did he do it? or was he innocent as he proclaimed right until the end? We will never know but what we do know is that Joe Hill was one of the great martyrs connected with the IWW and the cause of labor unions.
This is a fictionalized biography of Joseph Hillstrom, aka Joe Hill, of the Industrial Workers of the World. I'd read a straight biography years before--a gift from my brother, Fin. This, while much more highly interpretative, is an interesting supplement to the historical facts, a very well-written one.
I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. A pretty good read about a complicated man/myth. As someone else mentioned, this seems like it may have been a pet project of Stegner's and thus didn't get his full attention. At times it was a bit of a slog but overall it was a well written book with some beautifully written moments we all know Stegner was so capable of crafting.
Excellent book about one of the main characters of the early labor movement in the US. Main character was an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies). This is an "historical novel" and is an an easy read. I have enjoyed it so far.
A good but not captivating telling of the Joe Hill myth. I would have preferred this to be written as non-fiction but this did allow for some conjecture by the author. I would have given 3.5 starts but that's not an option.My first book by Stegner, I'll try him again.
I am a huge fan of Stegner and although this one took me a while to get into I really liked it in the end. The subject matter was timely and the characters have stuck in my mind. Good one to read if you don't know much about the IWW or Labor Movement.
Good early history of Utah, and the radical labor movement. A lot about his time on death row and execution- may have inspired Norman Mailer in his "Executioner's Song", about another Utah execution.
Beautiful blending of fact and fiction. Engaging story about the labor movement in the early 1900s in America. Fascinating characters. Stegner is a master with words. Highly recommended.
My review from December 18, 2000
One of the few Wallace Stegner I had not read. Very compelling.
A fictionalized account of a rebel in labor union circles in the early 20th century, is made interesting by Wally Stegner's story writing.
Stephen King recommended.
the IWW.what we need nowre'n ever. . .
No my favorite Wallace Stegner, but a very good read and interesting view of the early labor movement and working conditions pre-unions.
good as biography, not up to par as Stegner.
The Seattle/PNW aspect of this historical biography is intriguing and I know so little about the Wobblies - and me from a UNION state (Michigan). And I am a total convert to Wallace Stegner. Whew!
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