The Herrin Massacre of 1922

Blood and Coal in the Heart of America


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About the Book

In 1922, a coal miner strike spread across the United States, swallowing the heavily-unionized mining town of Herrin, Illinois. When the owner of the town’s local mine hired non-union workers to break the strike, violent conflict broke out between the strikebreakers and unionized miners, who were all heavily armed. When strikebreakers surrendered and were promised safe passage home, the unionized miners began executing them before large, cheering crowds.

This book tells the cruel truth behind the story that the coal industry tried to suppress and that Herrin wants to forget. A thorough account of the massacre and its aftermath, this book sets a heartland tragedy against the rise and decline of the coal industry.

About the Author(s)

Greg Bailey is a history writer, journalist, novelist, playwright and former attorney. His work has appeared in The Economist, Time, the New Republic,, Sierra, Wired, Narratively, Ozy, History News Network and many other publications. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

Greg Bailey

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 178
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8171-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4221-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Author’s Note viii

Introduction 1

Prologue: 1922 5

 1. From the Earth 7

 2. The Liveliest Place in Southern Illinois 19

 3. Overburden 28

 4. Detonators 35

 5. First Blood 45

 6. Stop the Breed of Them 51

 7. Outrage 63

 8. Trials 87

 9. Prisms 112

10. Aftermath 133

Epilogue: Herrin Today 149

Chapter Notes 157

Bibliography 163

Index 167