Although Charles M Sheldon is best known today as the author of In His Steps he also wrote and published many other books dealing with the Social Gospel.
In His Brother’s Keeper the plot revolves around two friends who grew up together in an iron mining town. One from a mining family and the other the son of the owner of the largest of the mines. There is a strike and it carries over the summer into the winter when the miners begin to truly suffer.
At the start of the novel thirty year old Stuart Duncan, having finished with college, has spent a year in Europe before returning home. He was looking forward to a position in his father’s mining company. The last thing he expected when he stepped out of the train station was to see his best friend from childhood, Eric Vassall, in the bandstand leading about five thousand miners striking against his father and the other mine owners.
With the death of his father he was suddenly in control of the largest mine complex in the range. With the miners on one side and the owners on the other Stuart was in the middle. How could he prevent suffering as the snow and cold of winter set in and the out of work miners families were going cold and hungry?
Neither side in the strike was willing to compromise and Stuart was only one man. He had plenty of money to spend on the problem, but how could he use it wisely to help those who were truly in need? Stuart knew that if he failed to act to somehow alleviate the suffering the failure would haunt him as long as he lived.
His Brother’s Keeper was first read to Charles M. Sheldon’s Sunday evening congregations a chapter at a time in 1895, one year before he read his most famous book, In His Steps, to them in 1896. The Salvation Army plays a prominent part in His Brother’s Keeper and there are the words to several of the songs sung by the Army in the 1890s.
A Kincaid Books edition of His Brother’s Keeper is available on Amazon.com.