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About John Hoerr
  Publications
Monongahela Dusk
Labor and Political Histories
We Can't Eat Prestige
A Sampling of Other Reviews
Contact John Hoerr
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As a journalist and novelist, John Hoerr has written mainly about labor, industry, and politics in contemporary history. His best-known book, And the Wolf Finally Came: the Decline of the American Steel Industry (1988), is the definitive account of labor-management struggles preceding the near-extinction of American steel as well as the mill towns in Western Pennsylvania where it was born.

The Monongahela Valley south of Pittsburgh is the setting of Hoerr’s newest book, a colorful historical novel of the 1930s-40s.

In Monongahela Dusk, a local businessman and a mill-town union leader are caught in webs of intrigue and violence in late Depression years and through World War II and the postwar boom. Although mill workers and townspeople are “pulling together” to win the war, immigrant and African-American families still face blatant ethnic and racial discrimination in the mills as well as everyday life. Racketeers operate almost without restraint as a gloss of wartime prosperity settles like mill soot on the Mon Valley towns. Read more...


Labor and social strife, juxtaposed with the fire and smoke of industrial might, have characterized the Pittsburgh region for much of the past 150 years. This long history of exploitation and conflict in mill towns and coal-mining communities has enriched a trove of regional literature only now being unearthed and catalogued in a new online project. Eventually, it will list more than 1,200 novels written about western Pennsylvania, and largely by writers who have lived in the region. Read more...