Chrimsonbird - Reviewer: Mike Lepore
"...The book is based on historical facts and presented realistically..."

What People Are Saying:

The Roanoke Times-Tuesday, March 07, 2006 

A fighter, a dreamer

R.S. Sukle of Marion grew up intrigued by her father's tales of 'rabble-rousing' and coal strikes, yet puzzled by her family's secrecy. Today she's writing a trilogy based on her dad's life.

HUNTINGTON NEWS: “Miner Injustice” is an often violent, often tender, always relevant historical novel that will resonate with many people in West Virginia, as well as those in the mining areas of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio. ...If you like the historical fiction of Thomas Mallon (“Bandbox,” Henry and Clara”) or John Updike (“In The Beauty of the Lillies”) you’ll enjoy “Miner Injustice.” If you long for a taste of John Steinbeck or fellow Californian (born in Chicago) Frank Norris, this book might bring you literary nourishment.
Maybe I’m afflicted with “The Phantom of the Opera” syndrome – the tunes inhabit my head and I can’t get enough of the showings on HBO – but I can envision “Miner Injustice” as an opera. Weird, but pick up a copy of this book and see if I’m not right.
Reviewed By David M. Kinchen,
Huntington News Network Book Critic

A SENIORity book review: The story is a fast read that builds to a crescendo.  The human misery and suffering brought this reviewer to tears on two occasions....Having been the son a steel worker, less than 60 miles from the site of the Miner Injustice story, the book brought back many memories to this reviewer--lines of pickets’ raised wooden clubs, police parked outside the factory, military tents and soldiers, all in the name of keeping peace. ...I hope the writer will continue in her field and provide us with more hours of reading pleasure.  Review by: George A. Freeman

Curled Up With A Good Book: The strikers also had an iron will after several generations of breaking their backs and souls to provide the coal this country needed to propel the Industrial Revolution. They found ways to survive by stealth of day and night. Some found no way to keep on, and death found them or their families during these long years. The Ragman found a way. He kept his family intact, and he watched by day and night the Iron Police and their foul doings. The secret of these immigrant families and the inhumane treatment of them, comparable only to the times of indentured servants and slavery, has never before been revealed as well as Sukle does in her book. In order to fully grasp the people’s of the coal mining states and their place in history I can think of no better book than The Ragman’s War. Review by: Lucinda Tart

WOMEN WRITERS' REVIEW:  Sukle’s book is well researched and her dialogue rings true to the accent and the feeling of those fraught times.  It is a praiseworthy effort and one expects to see more of Sukle as a writer/historian.  Review by: Barbara Bamberger Scott

CHRIMSONBIRD:  People in our own era too often forget that our grandparents had to put their lives on the line to win every workplace right that they ultimately won. Let's not rely on the conventional news media to bring attention to the fact that the people who built society's economic base from top to bottom have been so frequently denied the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor. Thomas Jefferson's observation that "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance" is as true on the industrial field as it is on the political field. In addition to the intrinsic value of Sukle's book as a suspenseful story, I hope and believe that it will promote greater awareness of the significance of giving our full support to organized labor. Reviewed by Mike Lepore

BOOKLOONS:   I don't understand the thinking that Americans would never commit the atrocities that we are seeing today. I refer to starting wars and abusing prisoners. The Ragman's War recounts a shameful piece of our past - a coal miners' strike in 1927-28. Have we learned nothing from history?
...The Ragman's War tells this tale - a hard one to read. It tells of desperately ill people being carried from their homes - during eviction - and placed on the frozen ground to fend for themselves. Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Bookpleasures:  The history of the working classes is an important part of every country’s history and it is one that is too often forgotten. This is especially true of the struggle for working conditions which took so long to achieve and which is constantly under threat from ‘deregulation’ and the spectre of outsourcing. The author locates her story in the tradition of Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, which remains as one of the central texts in the study of working class life and work. And like Tressell, she makes her story readable and her characters believable. Reviewed by  Dr. John Walsh

A review by Jack P. Wise B.S., M.S.
... A comparison comes immediately to mind: The Grapes of Wrath of the coal mines.

Daily News, McKeesport, PA - Reviewer: David Sallinger
...The reality is worse than the fiction, and prompts the reader to want to know more...


We believe that your book is a well written and well documented text dramatically depicting a difficult time in our country's labor history.  It is a book well worth reading.


Sukle deals with the strike by coal miners in western Pennsylvania in 1927-28 in a novelistic style.  The miners were unionized, but this did not mean much at this time.  They were subject to violent retaliation and attempts to control and intimidate them by Coal and Iron police hired by the mine owners, who for the most part had the support of government officials at all levels.  Individual miners committed some violence too.  But the violence is only part of the story Sukle relates.  With dialogue, scenes, and other techniques of the novel, she enters the stressful family lives of the miners and their wives; organizing, defensive measures, and other activities of the miners; and relationships among the different factions involved in the strike.  Ragman is a mine mechanic who is the central character.  Each chapter opens with newspaper reports about the strike followed by the author's novelistic embellishment of the particular events or subjects.  Reviewer: Henry Berry

PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE: …Sukle’s research is sound, and she deftly adopts the voices of the families she profiles.

Chrimsonbird - Reviewer: Mike Lepore
...The book is based on historical facts and presented realistically..

On Amazon.com:

“In Bucket of Blood, Sukle has written a fast-paced story of the turmoil and violence surrounding a 1927-1928 Miner's strike in Western Pennsylvania. In a well-written and entertaining fashion the story illuminates an important and nearly forgotten struggle in American history for Fair Wages and Fair Working Conditions. More importantly, Sukle illuminates the human heart and the strength of character shown by people in challenging conditions. The author's family history with the early union in the area gives this novel an authentic voice. I strongly recommend this book.”

A BarnesandNoble.com reviewer:

“My family 'walked this walk!!!'

An absolute masterpiece of reincarnating the chronicle of an era of workers' solidarity which a segment of society wished would somehow vanish. This is must reading for any descendants of families of the former coal mining areas. It truly is a story that begged mercifully to be told!!!!!!!”

Reviews by email:

I LOVED the book.  I could not put it down.   I can't wait for the next one.”

From Russellton:  “We've gotten calls from several elderly people who say that you
described what happened very accurately, as they remember it.”

Sukle's book was very moving. The movement from chapter to chapter is excellent, and the narrative comes to such a dramatic climax at the end.
The chapter on their distribution of Christmas gifts brought me to tears, in fact!  The rough behavior of the mine owners was shocking, and similar to what we expect of a third-world country. I suspect that the auto industry history is very much like the mine owners. And of course, the railroad barons are one more class of ruling "despots," whose homes in Newport are mentioned in Bucket of Blood.”

The book "wow " I could hardly put it down. Everything was so interesting and I lived a lot of it, but in the Curtisville area. When I came on DR Cross's name that sure rang a bell, he took my tonsils out in the Curtisville office, can you imagine that happening now. the writing was exciting, I was right there with everything.



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