The Last Ballad Read Online Free - The author of the celebrated bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, that chronicles an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, 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 others 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 she can find.
When the union leaflets first come through the mill, 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 lies, threats, and 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 whole story of what happened to 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 new novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.
|Title||:||The Last Ballad|
|Number of Pages||:||384 pages|
August 20, 2017
Wiley Cash is a storyteller who captures both my mind and my heart. He has written three novels, three different stories but all bearing in common Wiley's beautiful writing as well as an uncanniness for depicting the human condition under circumstances that chill us as readers. His writing takes...
October 04, 2017
Ella stared west. She imagined the great mountains foggy and raindamp in the distance, the blue ridges rolling away in great swells. She opened her mouth, paused for a moment, gathered the story of her life around her as she would lift the hem of a long dress before stepping across a stream. She...
October 31, 2017
What would you do if you were in your late twenties, already have had four children and now a new one on the way. Your husband has left you, you are now poor and alone, living in a shack in the black section of town. You, yourself are not black nor are your children, but they have proven to be wo...
October 15, 2017
Wonderful novel based on the true life of Ella Mae Wiggins, a poverty stricken mill worker at the Loray Mill in North Carolina, 1929. She helped to try and form a union, specially an integrated union in a time when people didn’t accept blacks.
This woman had so much courage to leave her job to wor...
October 03, 2017
!! NOW AVAILABLE !!
“We leave our homes in the morning
We kiss our children goodbye
While we slave for the bosses
Our children scream and cry
But understand all, workers
Our union they do fear
Let's stand together, workers
And have a union here
"A Mill Mother's Lament" – Ella May Wiggins
October 26, 2017
"You exist whether it is written down or not, and you are dead whether it's written down or not too."
Do we make our mark only in the lives of those who love us or does that mark still exist whether it is simply acknowledged or not?
Wiley Cash creates a superbly written story based on the actual li...
November 12, 2017
this book was based on the life of a remarkable, smart, and feisty woman Ella May Wiggins...
This is tough for me, I am such a character girl, and this is such a plot driven book... I found Ella and her children’s lives very interesting... I really wanted more about them; Love how the children lo...
November 18, 2017
5 Tar Heel State stars for The Last Ballad
Ella May Wiggins was a strong character and a strong woman in real life. Ella fought hard to organize a union in her area, and it was important to her that all races were allowed to be part of the union. We received a multi-dimensional look into her life...
October 25, 2017
The Last Ballad is the first book I have read by Wiley Cash, but it won't be the last. I loved the topic, some of the characters and the story. It's based on the true story of Ella May Wiggins, who was a union organizer in North Carolina. From the beginning, we know that Ella May died young in 19...
January 15, 2018
4.5 stars rounded up
The Last Ballad is a powerful, haunting, and moving story, that had me lost in the insightful, heartbreaking lush coulee with some of our Travelling Sisters. The story explores the courage of one woman's inspiring fight for justice that was inspired by actual events.