Burning Valley is a 1953 coming-of-age novel by the American writer Phillip Bonosky set in the steel valley of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1920s.[1][2][3] It was originally published in the Communist Party publication Masses and Mainstream. In 1998 it was reprinted as part of the series "The Radical Novel Reconsidered" by the University of Illinois Press.[4]

Burning Valley
First edition
AuthorPhillip Bonosky
GenreProletarian literature
PublisherMasses & Mainstream
Publication date
October 1953
Publication place USA
Media typePrint (hardback)

The novel tells the story of Benedict Bulmanis, son of an immigrant Lithuanian steelworker, who feels called to the Roman Catholic priesthood, but is torn by local political events as steelworkers struggle to organize in the face of corporate expansion. Banks and millowners plan to clear land in the Monongahela River Valley for a new steel mill, but it means forcing workers from their homes. This expansion and technological upgrading will increase production but lay off thousands. The workers and homeless rebel, in an echo of the Steel strike of 1919, and young Benedict must choose sides.


  1. ^ A Profile of Philip Bonosky, Proletarian Novelist Archived November 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine - Political Affairs Magazine
  2. ^ Phillip Bonosky's Burning Valley Archived 2011-05-08 at the Wayback Machine by Laura Hapke at Solidarity US
  3. ^ Nelson, Sampath Nelson (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1755. ISBN 0-313-33060-3. Philip Bonosky's novel, Burning Valley, (1953), offers a sociopolitical retrospective of labour unrest and union struggles during the 1920s and 1930s in the ethnic industrial communities of western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
  4. ^ Bruce Nissen (June 2000). "Book Reviews : Burning Valley. By Phillip Bonosky". Labor Studies Journal. 25 (2): 138–139. doi:10.1177/0160449X0002500220. S2CID 147300878. Burning Valley is a reprint of a 1953 novel in the series The Radical Novel Reconsidered, which is edited by Alan Wald of the University of Michigan and published by the University of Illinois Press. Published in the Communist Party publication Masses and Mainstream; ignored by the mainstream press, it ended up selling almost 5,000 copies.[permanent dead link]