The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

The Last Ballad

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Details The Last Ballad

TitleThe Last Ballad
Release DateOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherWilliam Morrow
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, American, Southern

Reviews The Last Ballad

  • Angela M
    Wiley Cash is a storyteller who captures both my mind and my heart. He has written three novels, three different stories but all bearing in common Wiley's beautiful writing as well as an uncanniness for depicting the human condition under circumstances that chill us as readers. His writing takes you exactly where he wants you to be - to the place, to the moment, into the thoughts of these characters. Each of his novels take place in North Carolin...
  • Will Byrnes
    Ella stared west. She imagined the great mountains foggy and raindamp in the distance, the blue ridges rolling away in great swells. She opened her mouth, paused for a moment, gathered the story of her life around her as she would lift the hem of a long dress before stepping across a stream. She did not think, did not stop to look at [anyone]. She simply began to speak. Events and people have a way of disappearing when they do not suit the narrat...
  • Diane S ☔
    What would you do if you were in your late twenties, already have had four children and now a new one on the way. Your husband has left you, you are now poor and alone, living in a shack in the black section of town. You, yourself are not black nor are your children, but they have proven to be wonderful friends, one named Violet you call your best friend. In order to feed your children, you work at a textile mill, 60-70 hour work weeks, making on...
  • Cheri
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! “We leave our homes in the morningWe kiss our children goodbyeWhile we slave for the bossesOur children scream and cryBut understand all, workersOur union they do fearLet's stand together, workersAnd have a union here "A Mill Mother's Lament" – Ella May Wiggins “Saturday, May 4, 1929””Ella May knew she wasn’t pretty, had always know it. She didn’t have to come all the way down the mountain from Tennessee to Besse...
  • Karen❄️
    Wonderful novel based on the true life of Ella Mae Wiggins, a poverty stricken mill worker at the Loray Mill in North Carolina, 1929. She helped to try and form a union, specially an integrated union in a time when people didn’t accept blacks.This woman had so much courage to leave her job to work on union matters when she had little ones at home that she could barely feed. Such a tragic story that touched my heart. I went online after finishin...
  • Linda
    "You exist whether it is written down or not, and you are dead whether it's written down or not too."Do we make our mark only in the lives of those who love us or does that mark still exist whether it is simply acknowledged or not?Wiley Cash creates a superbly written story based on the actual life of a little known woman named Ella May Wiggins. Ella May's life barely caused a ripple to stir in her early years. Her innocent nature fell for the go...
  • Berit☀️✨
    this book was based on the life of a remarkable, smart, and feisty woman Ella May Wiggins...This is tough for me, I am such a character girl, and this is such a plot driven book... I found Ella and her children’s lives very interesting... I really wanted more about them; Love how the children looked out for each other and really appreciated the fact that they did not care about color... also would have liked more about Ella’s friendships with...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    5 Tar Heel State stars for The Last BalladElla May Wiggins was a strong character and a strong woman in real life. Ella fought hard to organize a union in her area, and it was important to her that all races were allowed to be part of the union. We received a multi-dimensional look into her life through the various characters in the book, as the story was told from more than just Ella's point of view. The way this was done was genius. I've never ...
  • Esil
    The Last Ballad is the first book I have read by Wiley Cash, but it won't be the last. I loved the topic, some of the characters and the story. It's based on the true story of Ella May Wiggins, who was a union organizer in North Carolina. From the beginning, we know that Ella May died young in 1929. Told through a number of characters, including Ella May, Cash gives a feel for the living and working conditions of people working in the cotton mill...
  • Stephanie Anze
    Ella May Wiggins is a single mother to four children. Six days out of the week she a spinner at American Mill No. 2. Overworked and underpaid, Ella has no choice but to continue at this job that barely sustains her family. When the leaflets for the union start appearing at her work, she is intrigued and decides to attend a rally. Struck by the significance of the union on the mill workers, Ella joins up. It will be a decision that will alter her ...
  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine. This book first captured by attention at Book Expo 2017. I’d not heard of Ella May Wiggins prior to reading the blurb and I was very drawn to the story of this young woman who fought for social justice and racial and gender equality. I was also very drawn to the beautiful cover!The Last Ballad is Ella’s story told in chapters which were snippets of the lives of several people wh...
  • Marialyce
    What makes a person brave? What is it in some that allows them to push themselves forward in difficult times and achieve? Where does the line form between those who go with the flow and those who go against it?Ella May Wiggins, a poor mother of four is uneducated, at a poverty level, and destined to work in a mill countless hours a week for the wage of nine dollars. She is unlucky in love as she seems to pick men that use her and then leave her. ...
  • Dana
    Inspired by the events of an actual textile mill strike in 1929, Cash creates a vivid picture of one woman's desperation. (Kirkus Review)Wiley Cash is a wonderful storyteller and great at capturing a strong sense of time and place/local color. He has done that again with The Last Ballad. Ella May Wiggins is a single mother who is barely keeping her family alive while working at a local mill, when she sees a flyer asking people to join a union. Sh...
  • Lindsay
    3.5 stars!This was an informative, eye-opening and emotional novel. This story, based on true events, follows the life and legacy of Ella May Wiggins, a North Carolina union organizer in the 1920’s. She was one brave and courageous woman who stood up for her beliefs and worked hard to solely support her large family. I love learning about a piece of history I knew nothing about and this was definitely the case with this book. I was fascinated w...
  • JanB
    I added a star to my rating, because now, a month after finishing, I find myself still thinking about it. It was a book that led me to the internet to find out more about Ella May, and that is the mark of a great book. Ella May was a poor, young, single mother of 4 working 12 hour days for a pittance, who became a labor organizer in 1929. Her story is a true one. Ella made $9/week, not enough to adequately house, clothe, and feed her children. I ...
  • Cathrine ☯️
    3.5★“People want to know that you’ve earned it…you’ve earned the story. I’ve earned mine. I’ve earned this being sad, this loss, this being angry. People have lived the same kind of life I’ve lived. They need to know they’re not alone.”Inspired by events of a textile-mill strike in 1929, Ella May Wiggins was a real person. She wrote songs that would be sung by Woody Guthrie and recorded by Pete Seeger. I’d say this was a lab...
  • Nikki
    The Last Ballad, by Wiley Cash, is a novel inspired by the real life of Ella May Wiggins, mill workers, unions, and tumultuous times in North Carolina in 1929. This is not a "light" read, but one that is thought provoking and, for me personally, one that requires lots of focus. I enjoyed and appreciated the purpose and message of Cash's story, and I find myself still thinking of Ella May quite often. His writing is descriptive and beautiful, howe...
  • Sue
    I have read all of Wiley Cash's books and I while I definitely enjoyed the first two, The Last Ballad, his third book, is definitely my favorite. The writing is so beautiful that I read the book slowly so I could savor his words. I felt like I was part of the action and could clearly see the scenes he set in this novel. The characters were so well done that I felt their pain as they worked to bring better pay and working conditions into the NC te...
  • Tom Mathews
    The biggest problem with novels based on actual events is those pesky spoilers. Seriously, how many people who watched the movie Titanic didn’t know at the outset that that ship was going to sink? Sometimes, though, it is necessary to put a human face on events that shape the world we live in. If Jack hadn’t sacrificed himself and died of hypothermia to save the woman he loved, how could we possibly come to care about a hunk of steel plummeti...
  • Kathleen
    Thank you to Goodreads, because this book was not even on my radar until I saw the Goodreads giveaway and signed up. I won an autographed copy from William Morrow and I'm so glad I signed up. The Last Ballad is historical fiction, based on true events in 1929. It is sad, and also beautiful, to see how Ella May and her fellow millworkers endured unimaginable living and working conditions and fought desperately for a better life.
  • Asheley
    When I first saw the advanced copies for The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash being circulated months ago, I got so excited. His books are among my very-favorites. His stories are always so layered and his characters sometimes seem so straightforward but they’re actually really complex. And I love the way they’re set in the dusty, gritty parts of North Carolina, which is my home.The Last Ballad is a fiction story that is based on real history and re...
  • DeAnn
    I love Wiley Cash, an amazing Southern voice. I liked his earlier books better than this one, though. I found myself getting distracted a few times, but the ending of this book is amazing! I liked the main character, Ella, but I wish we hadn't been told what was going to happen to her early in the story. I found the other character voices a bit distracting. This was a fascinating look into early union days too. Overall 4 stars and I would recomme...
  • Virginia C
    This book was a wonderful read. The author's words paint a vivid picture of each page. This is my first novel by this author and cannot wait to read his other books. I highly recommend this book.
  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    4 stars ~~ I love this author, I can't believe that I missed reviewing this book. Written in the true-to-life battle of workers rights, Wiley Cash does what he is so good at. It is 1929 in Appleton County North Carolina and Ella Mae Wiggins struggles to make ends meet. Ella works in the American Mill #2 - designated mill #2 because they employee African Americans in that mill. Ella is Caucasian, and not only works with but lives in the part of to...
  • Sharon Metcalf
    People belong to unions today but doing so carries virtually no risk - at least not in Australia. In years gone by it was seen by some as a chore, a compulsory deduction from our pay. More recently people opt in because their fees are tax deductible so why not. For others it's a matter of principle, knowing the way unions have fought to get us the working conditions many of us now take for granted. Fought. I used that word but it's never really o...
  • Bookworm
    I really wanted to love this book. I was quite excited upon starting it as many people raved about it. I'm sad to say that this story was good but not great for me. I had a hard time connecting with the characters and found them one dimensional. I tried really really hard to invest myself fully but just couldn't. I wasn't able to care about any of the characters. As the plot progressed, I found myself less and less invested to the point in which ...
  • KC
    It's 1929 and Ella May Wiggins is struggling to raise her 4 young children alone. She must work late into the night at the American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. With a sick daughter at home, Ella appeals to her boss to work the day shift, but her request is denied, leaving her angry and frustrated. After the first of the union leaflets come through the mill, Ella experiences the first glint of hope. With the singing voice of an an...
  • Nancy
    My first Wiley Cash novel will not be my last. Cash is a wonderful storyteller, entertaining while enlarging our knowledge. The story is compelling, the characters wonderfully drawn and real, the theme relevant.The Last Ballad is the fictionalized story of the 1929 labor movement to unionize the mills of North Carolina. Ella May Wiggins struggles to provide for her family, working 12 hours a night, six days a week, for $9 a week. She lives in Stu...
  • Creager
    All souls have a story to tell and The Last Ballad has a chorus of people geared to a rising crescendo. While Wiley Cash’s novel of a mill strike in 1929 is inspired by real events, his writing croons so softly of the abject misery of the working masses versus the strident actions of the wealthy few as the subject of Unions was synonymous with Communism; and the rich were flagrant with Nepotism. Juxtaposed with cobbled grit and wrapped in sweet...