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A Brief History
The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia: A Brief History first appeared in 1963, a little book by a man with no training as either a writer or a historian. Since then, this volume has become an essential sourcebook, consulted and quoted in nearly every study of coal field history. The surprising impact and durability of the book are due to both the information in it and the personality behind it. Through the first half of the twentieth century, William Purviance Tams lived coal. Rising from a young coal engineer to a senior coal baron, Tams stood at the center of Southern West Virginia industrialization. When he sold his company in 1955, Tams was the last of the old owner-operators, men with no personal or financial interest outside of coal. Tams wrote a book which could only have come from an ultimate insider. The everyday work of mining coal is here-laying track, blasting and loading the coal. So is the everyday business of coal, from sinking shafts and ventilating the work area, to administering a town and keeping the workers happy. Tams gives the financial details of the volatile business, and offers capsule biographies of the other major developers of the Southern West Virginia coal fields. It was a passion for Tams. He never married, and tended his business and his town with paternal care. After retirement, this industrial baron spent his final decades in a modest bungalow in his little coal-camp community, watching the town he had built fade back into the mountains. It is W. P. Tams's passion and attitude, as much as his place at the center of history, which make The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia worth reading nearly 40 years after its first publication. Tams's 1963 account of his career, The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia, offers a unique perspective on the business and the life of coal mining. The book is especially valuable for its account of the daily life and work of the miners, engineers, and families in the mines and in the mining towns. Our reprint of this fascinating and important book combines Tams's original work with a new introduction by Ronald D. Eller, author of Miners, Millhands, & Mountaineers.
Still Life with Plums is a vibrant collection of short stories that weaves together the outwardly distant lives of several strangers. With heaping doses of dark humor and magical realism, these ten stories enliven a cast of characters scattered throughout the southern portion of the United States. From West Virginians, to Texans and Latinos, Still Life with Plums mines the lives of a Black-Irish West Virginian, a wise-cracking dog groomer, a guilt-ridden ambulance driver, a Guatemalan widow, a Japanese-Latin-American poster child for WWII reconciliation, and a meticulous predator. Marie Manilla’s accessible prose is powerful and richly layered as she births a quirky ensemble that unflinchingly probes the human psyche.
Tess, a West Virginian in New York City, finds herself among seedy brothels facing life as a prostitute. A number of trials test her in every way, leading to both understanding and misunderstanding among her friends and her family. Tess tells these stories of pain, joy, depression, loneliness, and endurance in her journal, and they will shock some readers and charm others. With the shadow of the Appalachians calling her back home, she desperately struggles to claim her individuality in a world of debauchery without the painful remnants of her past and fear of a fragmented future overwhelming her.
A Mingo County Chronicle
In old England, if a king didn’t like you, he would cut off your head. Now, if they don’t like you, they’ll cut off your project!
As the Johnson Administration initiated its war on poverty in the 1960s, the Mingo County Economic Opportunity Commission project was established in southern West Virginia. Huey Perry, a young, local history teacher was named the director of this program and soon he began to promote self-sufficiency among low-income and vulnerable populations. As the poor of Mingo County worked together to improve conditions, the local political infrastructure felt threatened by a shift in power. Bloody Mingo County, known for its violent labor movements, corrupt government, and the infamous Hatfield-McCoy rivalry, met Perry’s revolution with opposition and resistance.
In They’ll Cut Off Your Project, Huey Perry reveals his efforts to help the poor of an Appalachian community challenge a local regime. He describes this community’s attempts to improve school programs and conditions, establish cooperative grocery stores to bypass inflated prices, and expose electoral fraud. Along the way, Perry unfolds the local authority’s hostile backlash to such change and the extreme measures that led to an eventual investigation by the FBI. They’ll Cut Off Your Project chronicles the triumphs and failures of the war on poverty, illustrating why and how a local government that purports to work for the public’s welfare cuts off a project for social reform.
Vol. 1 (2004) through current issue
Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review presents the growing body of critical commentary and scholarship on both J.R.R.Tolkien's voluminous fiction and his academic work in literary and linguistic fields. The founding editors are Douglas A. Anderson (The Annotated Hobbit), Michael D. C. Drout (Beowulf and the Critics), and Verlyn Flieger (Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World).
Vol. 38 (2000) through current issue
Founded in 1962 to further the aesthetic study of the poetry of the Victorian period (1830-1914) in Britain, Victorian Poetry today publishes articles from a broad range of theoretical/critical angles, including but not confined to new historicism, feminism, and social/cultural issues. The journal has expanded its purview from the major figures of Victorian England (Tennyson, Browning, the Rossettis, etc.) to a wider compass of poets of all classes and gender indentifications in nineteenth-century Britain and the Commonwealth.
This fifth collection of poetry from West Virginia's poet laureate and author of Six O'Clock Mine Report is an extraordinary set of poems which reflect the complexity, the magnanimity, and the resilience of the human spirit. McKinney writes with candor, precision, and compassion; most importantly, though, her poems are accessible to all types of readers.
In his debut short-fiction collection, The Way Things Always Happen Here, Kevin C. Stewart takes his readers to the scene of a heinous murder, to the home of an alcoholic single mother, to the 1960s election campaign of JFK through West Virginia, and off the side of the New River Gorge Bridge. In these eight stories set in fictional Oak County in southern West Virginia, and one novella set in the Arkansas Ozarks, Stewart gives us characters who all love and hate where they’re from.
Its Farms and Forests, Mines and Oil-Wells
West Virginia: Its Farms and Forests, Mines and Oil-Wells celebrates the state of West Virginia. Originally published in 1865 as a series of studies on mineral resources, observations on agriculture, and interviews with businessmen, West Virginia details the industrial statistics, terrain, and population of a state during its infancy. With no record of natural wealth or reported transactions of agriculture or geography prior to this overview, West Virginia sparked the curiosity of non-residents, enticing investment and settlement through descriptions of abundant natural resources and an agreeable industrial condition. With an introduction by Kenneth R. Bailey, this new edition reminds us of the state’s alluring beginning and rich, yet often exploited development.
Vol. 1 (2007) through current issue
The premier source of scholarship and research on the history of the Mountain State, West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies, covers the political, social, economic, and cultural history of the state and its regional context.