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.
Mr. Hoerr died June 21, 2015 of septic shock in Middleboro, Mass., where he and his wife lived since 2009.
He had not lived in Pittsburgh for decades, as Business Week had previously promoted him to a position in New York City, but Mr. Hoerr’s attachment to the region was strong throughout his life. The last of his books, “Monongahela Dusk,” was a 2009 novel depicting conflicting forces, including those within organized labor, in a place and time very much much like the one in which he grew up.
“He often talked about the culture of the [Mon Valley]. He loved those those people and respected their work ethic,” said Charles McCollester, a retired professor and labor historian as well as longtime friend. “On the one hand he had his Business Week knowledge, but he also knew the dependency of the Mon Valley on steelmaking, and he felt acutely the pain of the people and deep sadness at the demise of a town that once had five movie theaters, as he often talked about.”
Visit his website: http://www.johnhoerr.com/