Labor conflicts, arrests, espionage—it was all there at the once ubiquitous mills of Fulton County.

Employee records and snatches of paper prove workers spied on each other. Company owners were paranoid about labor unions taking over. Copious documentation, unearthed here by author Lisa M. Russell, brings the workaday drama back to life. These mills sustained families, but exploitation was far from uncommon. When mill workers finally went on strike, there was hell to pay. The company bosses yanked strikers from their shacks. With the help of Governor Talmadge, the National Guard arrested working women with their children. They marched these “criminals” to a former WWI prisoner-of-war camp that once held enemy German soldiers. Hard to believe this was happening in and around Atlanta in the early 1900s.