The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon
By William M. Adler
This is the new, definitive, well-illustrated biography of Joe Hill, legendary American songwriter and labor hero, with explosive new evidence pointing to his innocence of the crime for which he was executed nearly a century ago.
In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World -- the radical Wobblies. Now, following four years of intensive investigation, William M. Adler gives us the first full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.
Joe Hill's gripping tale is set against a brief but electrifying moment in American history, between the century's turn and World War I, when the call for industrial unionism struck a deep chord among disenfranchised workers; when class warfare raged and capitalism was on the run. Hill was the union's preeminent songwriter, and in death, he became organized labor's most venerated martyr, celebrated by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and immortalized in the ballad "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night."
The Man Who Never Died does justice to Joe Hill's extraordinary life and its controversial end. Drawing on extensive new evidence, Adler deconstructs the case against his subject and argues convincingly for the guilt of another man. It reads like a murder mystery set against the background of the raw, turn-of-the-century West.
“Finally. A real Joe Hill biography. Asks all the right questions, digs deep for the answers and reads like a true crime drama à la David Simon.” 435 pages hardcover
STEVE EARLE, SINGER-SONGWRITER, AUTHOR OF I'LL NEVER GET OUT OF THIS WORLD ALIVE
“Joe Hill is a mythic, martyred figure in the history of American radicalism, part labor organizer, part songster. Bill Adler has done a fine job of rediscovering the man as well as the legend.”
SEAN WILENTZ, SIDNEY AND RUTH LAPIDUS PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, AUTHOR OF BOB DYLAN IN AMERICA