Hills of Gold by Brent Leslie.
Hills of Gold by Brent Leslie. Pub http://www.brentbooks.co.nz 2014.
A short concise novel about two goldmines in which there are health and safety issues and poor pay and conditions for workers. The first is the Martha Hill goldmine in Waihi the scene of a bitter strike in 1912 and the second the Lena Goldmine in Russia where an equally bitter but more violent strike was a precursor to the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The two are linked by family connection. In Waihi 14 year old Russell Cooper and his sister Irene are struggling to keep their family together after their father is inflicted with phthisis a deterioration of the lungs suffered by miners working in poor dusty conditions. In Russian their uncle, mining engineer John Anderson is hired to manage the Lena gold mine in Russia a place where the conditions are positively barbaric compared to Martha Hill.
The writings of Marx and the actions of Lenin and Trotsky are in the air in both camps and the situations are comparable. Neither strike ended well for the workers but one result had a positive result for the family in New Zealand.
Well written with the issues well explained with economical language in a no nonsense way.
Intermediate and secondary school students will find it most interesting.