by Franklin Rosemont
The only biography of musician, IWW labor activist, and martyr Joe Hill to fully explore his politics and cultural contributions as well as his lasting effect on the radical counterculture.
This expansive work covers the life, times, and culture of that most famous member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) or Wobblies songwriter, poet, hobo, thinker, humorist, martyr Joe Hill. Many aspects of the life and lore of Joe Hill receive their first and only discussion in IWW historian Franklin Rosemont's opus.
In great detail, the issues that Joe Hill raised and grappled with in his life: capitalism, white supremacy, gender, religion, wilderness, law, prison, and industrial unionism are shown in both the context of Hill's life and for their enduring relevance in the century since his death. Collected too is Joe Hill's art, plus scores of other images featuring Hill-inspired art by IWW illustrators. As Rosemont suggests in this remarkable book, Joe Hill never really died as he lives in the minds of rebels as long as his songs are sung, his ideas are circulated, and his political descendants keep fighting for a better day.
“Joe Hill has finally found a chronicler worthy of his revolutionary spirit, sense of humor, and poetic imagination.” —Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams
“Rosemont’s treatment of Joe Hill is passionate, polemical, and downright entertaining. What he gives us is an extended and detailed argument for considering both Hill and the IWW for their contributions toward creating an autonomous and uncompromising alternative culture.” —Gordon Simmons, Labor Studies Journal
“Magnificent, practical, irreverent and (as one might say) magisterial, written in a direct, passionate, sometimes funny, deeply searching style.” —Peter Linebaugh, author of Stop, Thief!
“Rosemont seems to have hunted down every available detail of Hill’s short life and abiding legend.” —Los Angeles Times
“It has been a long time since so much new material on Joe Hill and the Wobblies has been collected in one volume. All students of the IWW, labor cartoons and songs, radical humor, and the history of blue-collar countercultures in the U.S. will find this book indispensable.” —Salvatore Salerno, editor of The Big Red Songbook
About the Author:
Franklin Rosemont was born in Chicago in 1943. His father, Henry, was a labor activist, and his mother, Sally, a jazz musician. He edited and wrote an introduction for What Is Surrealism? Selected Writings by André Breton, and edited Rebel Worker, Arsenal/Surrealist Subversion, The Rise and Fall of the Dill Pickle, and Juice Is Stranger than Friction: Selected Writings of T-Bone Slim. With Penelope Rosemont and Paul Garon he edited The Forecast Is Hot! His work was deeply concerned with both the history of surrealism (writing a foreword for Max Ernst and Alchemy: A Magician in Search of Myth) and of the radical labor movement in America. For several decades he and Penelope Rosemont combined such interests helming the venerable radical publishing house the Charles H. Kerr Co. He died in 2009 in Chicago.