Power and the Glory, The
Originally published in 1910, The Power and the Glory is a fascinating novel set in turn-of-the-century Appalachia. The page-turner centers on spirited heroine Johnnie Consadine and anticipates many contemporary feminist issues. Embarrassed by her family's reputation for "borrowing" rather than working, Johnnie leaves her home deep in Appalachia's Unaka Mountains to take a job at a textile mill in Cottonville, Tennessee, a Chattanooga suburb. Here she challenges the unhealthy, dangerous, and brutal conditions faced by women and children laborers, exposes corporate environmental poisoning, stands up to the hypocritical middle-class ladies of the Uplift Club, invents and patents an idea for improving industrial machinery, and proposes a settlement house, utopian mine, and mill village to help women like herself. A rollicking good read, The Power and the Glory is filled with plot twists and turns that include romance, a lost silver mine, kidnapping, shoot-outs, scheming villains, a wandering chiropractor, and a dramatic automobile chase. The novel's themes of ecological feminism, social activism, gender roles, and class distinctions remain strikingly relevant for modern readers, who will revel in the adventures of a strong, intelligent, funny, and resourceful Appalachian woman.