[[ eBook ]] Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass MurderAuthor Steve Lehto – Papercuts.co

I m currently putting together a presentation of unusual local deaths and murders, so I appreciated the thorough research and details this book offered Not the easiest read a bit monotonous but served my purpose well. This is a well researched account of the events surrounding the multiple deaths that occurred on December 24, 1913, in the Keweenaw area of Michigan s Upper Penninsula, as part of union unrest in Copper Country This is a well written story of how the owners of the copper mines conspired to destroy the miner s union and break the strike It is also a larger story of the early days of the labor movement in this country and the formation of both the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board Students of local politics and of larger labor issues will enjoy this story depicting one of the lesser known parts of northern Michigan history. So the Italian Hall tragedy goes like this In the 1910s, copper miners on the Keweenaw peninsula in Michigan were striking This was before many of the laws that are in place now, so it was a draw out affair On Christmas Eve 1913, there was a Christmas party for the striking miners children at the Italian Hall in Calumet, MI 12 miles N of where I live Someone came in and yelled fire As a result, 73 people, mostly children, were crushed to death trying to get out of the building This book tries to dispell the rumors still circulating about this event. Want to know all the facts about this sad event Steve Lehto is a natural at research and he s done his best with this book Read for discovery and knowledge My grandparents, Gelsomina and Caesar Lucchesi, lived in the Copper Country and knewn families involved in the event Yes, I heard their stories and the local myths about the the doors and the cry of fire Steve has the facts This was a pretty interesting story Having lived in Michigan my entire life I was surprised that I d never heard of this incident before It seems that with all the lore surrounding these murders that it would still be something that people would bring up, at least occasionally Since I ve never heard of the incident at the Italian Hall before I do not know how well the information presented in this book meshes with popular opinion However, Lehto does mentions many times where his findings do not support popular belief The book was very informational and I think it was fairly unbiased However the only complaint I have is that once I got towards the end of the book I felt like I was just rereading the same information over and over again It became somewhat monotonous But it was still interesting, and I liked that it gave quite a bit of the back story to the Italian Hall Tragedy I felt that having the back story gave the tragedy a bit depth than if the book had just covered what happened the day of the tragedy While this was interesting I wouldn t say it read like fiction For you to enjoy this one I think you d really have to be interested in real life stories There were a lot of facts in the book, things that you wouldn t normally see in a fiction book But overall I have to say it was worth the read. Steve Lehto has done a great job here making use of historical records and logical inferences in telling the story of the Italian Hall Or I think he has The titular conclusion that the mining companies brownshirts, the so called Citizen s Alliance, were responsible for the tragic stampede that happened at a Christmas Eve Party for striking miners children kind of hangs over the book Lehto s conclusion is that the most likely thing to have happened is that someone wearing a Citizen s Alliance pin ran into the packed of their number running into the hall and yelling Fire leading to deaths of 73 or 74 there s argument about how many died even mainly children But even if you disagree with that conclusion, there s still a lot of great work here, especially in comparing the available primary sources to the official version of what s supposed to have happened He does a good amount of analysis comparing the correspondence of the William McNaughton to the big bosses back in Boston and it s fascinating to read in general, trying to unravel how much of McNaughton s words were bullshit and just whom he was bullshitting Lehto really bludgeons the local respectable press, the Daily Mining Gazette and the Calumet News for being completely in the tank for the mine owners and sometimes publishing outright fiction The workers papers were comparatively restrained based on his quotes, though still partisan of course But that fictionalizing by the institutional newspapers has helped the story the local power structure told about the strike to even infect some history books.Growing up just south of the Copper Country, I d heard of the Italian Hall and what happened, but the story of the strike in general surprised me I certainly didn t know it involved shooting up Painesdale or rioting in South Range by the mine owners supporters As to the distinction of calling it a mass murder I m a little itchy there There s no evidence the mine owners or their thugs could have predicted them harassing a children s party would lead to 73 dead, but I guess mass negligent homicide doesn t make a good book title And there s no particular reason to treat the Citizen s Alliance better than a guy whose armed robbery at the gas station went wrong and turned into murder I certainly agree with Lehto that his conclusion is the most likely one based on the evidence, but I m a little skeptical of the evidence based as it is on eyewitness accounts which weren t recorded by competent people until months later The local investigation, Lehto points out, was completely botched and probably botched on purpose. I first heard of the 1913 Massacre from the Woody Guthrie song, which the author cites at the beginning of this book As I began reading through the chapters, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the story, the amount of research the author had done, and how well he was able to present the facts of the story without being crazy biased or relying on Guthrie s song to do the storytelling for him The author was able to effectively paint a picture of what life was like for copper miners and their families in the UP during the time leading up to the massacre, and to clearly explain the struggles, motives and interests of the people in the area at that time Although this book contains a great deal of factual information, he presents it in a way that is neither boring nor pretentious, which I very much appreciated Several pages of photos towards the end of the book were a great addition, and helped to illustrate just how big of a deal this event really was I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in true crime, history, labor unions, or folk music. I learned quite a bit from this book about the history of the Keewenaw, which is where my family is from It s amazing that such a large and serious tragedy occurred there and yet there are so many misconceptions about why and how I think the author takes an objective view of the details, and the copious research involved shows I would recommend this book to people who are interested in Michigan s history, or in the history of the labor movement in the United States in general. Clearly, this book deals with Michigan s largest mass murder, which the author argues, was motivated by anti Union sentiment Citizens Alliance, James MacNaughton, Calumet Hecla in Michigan s Upper Peninsula This book interested me because I had to read it for HIS2240 at Wayne State University Michigan History I decided to read this book because my family has a deep involvement in labor unions I m glad I read the book because it took what was once a freak accident that happened on December 24th, 1913, and turned it into a mass murder Whatever the man s intent who yelled Fire in the Italian Hall was, does not matter his actions killed 73 or 74, depending on which sources you trust people most of them children I suggest it to those interested in Michigan s history, labor history, or crime Lehto is a lawyer, so his argument is well thought out and argued fairly well. Death S Door Is The True Account Of The Tragedy That Struck A Michigan Copper Mining Town During A Time When A Bitter Struggle Raged Between The Striking Workers And The Mining Companies This Haunting Story Continues To Be An Unsolved Mystery Today Lehto Conducts All The Research To Bring You The Most Accurate Account Of What Songwriter Woody Guthrie Called The Massacre