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Book Report: Saving Lucas Biggs

Saving Lucas Biggs is a hell of a book.

First of all, it’s got a terrific sense of place. It’s set a Northern Arizona mining town, edge of the desert, edge of the mountains. Second, it’s got a terrific sense of history. That’s connected to the first, probably, in that it’s difficult to have a sense of place without it, but they get the particular mining-town history of Arizona right. Which is connected to the third thing, that I love it when a YASF book turns out to be full of old labor-left stuff, real rabble-rousing material that brings the iniquities of the Company right down to the present day. Hydraulic fracturing is killing people, yes, and you should believe that because mining companies have been killing people to make a buck for a couple of hundred years, now.

Having said that, I am disappointed, a little anyway, that Our Hero (and she’s a good character, too, even if perhaps just a trifle too quirky for my tastes at the moment) succeeds in the end by melting the heart of an old evildoer. I wanted a political victory. The kids reading this book should (in my opinion) learn of the tremendous achievement that was moving our labor conflict from machine guns to ballot boxes; we should politicize the fuck out of every dead miner and every spoiled river and every fracking earthquake so that it doesn’t come down to guns again. Because those things kill people, too.

But then, I feel bad about complaining—no kid would really read this book and think Why bother joining a union or voting or calling my congressman, I’ll just melt the heart of an evildoer. No, kids will read this book (I hope they will) and think the bastard mine-owners are still killing people to make a buck.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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