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West Virginia University Press

West Virginia University Press

Website: http://www.as.wvu.edu/press

Founded in the mid-1960s, West Virginia University Press is a scholarly, not-for-profit publisher of books and journals. The Press specializes in Appalachian history, medieval studies, African American literature and culture, and rural sociology; its list also includes general interest and creative writings on Appalachia. Through the publication of all such works, WVU Press helps to fulfill West Virginia University’s land-grant mission.


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West Virginia University Press

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Reversing Field Cover

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Reversing Field

Examining Commercialization, Labor, Gender, and Race in 21st Century Sports Law

edited by andre douglas pond cummings and Anne Marie Lofaso

Reversing Field invites students, professionals, and enthusiasts of sport—whether law, management and marketing, or the game itself—to explore the legal issues and regulations surrounding collegiate and professional athletics in the United States. This theoretical and methodological interrogation of sports law openly addresses race, labor, gender, and the commercialization of sports, while offering solutions to the disruptions that threaten its very foundation during an era of increased media scrutiny and consumerism. In over thirty chapters, academics, practitioners, and critics vigorously confront and debate matters such as the Arms Race, gender bias, racism, the Rooney Rule, and steroid use, offering new thought and resolution to the vexing legal issues that confront sports in the 21st century.

Riding on Comets Cover

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Riding on Comets

A Memoir

Cat Pleska

Riding on Comets is the true story of an only child growing up in a working-class family during the 1950s and ‘60s. 

As the family storyteller, Cat Pleska whispers and shouts about her life growing up around savvy, strong women and hard-working, hard-drinking men. Unlike many family stories set within Appalachia, this story provides an uncommon glimpse into this region: not coal, but an aluminum plant; not hollers, but small-town America; not hillbillies, but a hard-working family with traditional values. 

From the dinner table, to the back porch, to the sprawling countryside, Cat Pleska reveals the sometimes tender, sometimes frightening education of a child who listens at the knees of these giants. She mimics and learns every nuance, every rhythm—how they laugh, smoke, cuss, fight, love, and tell stories—as she unwittingly prepares to carry their tales forward, their words and actions forever etched in her mind. And finally, she discovers a life story of her own. 

Robert C. Byrd Cover

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Robert C. Byrd

Child of the Appalachian Coalfields

Robert C. Byrd

This autobiography follows West Virginia senator Robert C. Byrd’s experiences from his boyhood in the early 1920s to his election in 2000, which won him an unprecedented eighth term in the Senate. Within these pages, Senator Byrd offers commentary on national and international events that occurred throughout his long life in public service. 

His journey from the hardscrabble coalfields to the marbled halls of Congress has inspired generations of people in West Virginia and throughout the nation. From reading the stories of the Founding Fathers as a young boy by the light of a kerosene lamp to the swearing of an oath for more than a half-century to guard the US Constitution, Senator Byrd’s life is legendary. 

Until his death on June 28, 2010, Byrd stood by his principles, earning the affection of the people of his home state and the respect of Americans from all walks of life. With his beloved Erma ever by his side, Robert C. Byrd never forgot his roots, harkening back to those early lessons that he learned as a child of the Appalachian coalfields.

This new paperback edition includes a foreword by Gaston Caperton, governor of West Virginia from 1989–1997.

Robert C. Byrd Cover

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Robert C. Byrd

Child of the Appalachian Coalfields

Robert C. Byrd

United States Senator Robert C. Byrd’s autobiography, Child of the Appalachian Coalfields follows Senator Byrd’s experiences from his boyhood in the early 1920s to his election in 2000, which won him an unprecedented eighth term in the Senate. Along the way, Senator Byrd offers commentary on national and international events that occurred throughout his long life in public service. Senator Byrd’s journey from the hardscrabble coalfields to the marbled halls of Congress has inspired generations of people in West Virginia and throughout the nation. From reading the stories of the Founding Fathers as a young boy by the light of a kerosene lamp to the swearing of an oath for more than a half-century to guard the United States Constitution, Senator Byrd’s life is legendary. Byrd always stands by his principles, earning the affection of the people of his home state and the respect of Americans from all walks of life. With his beloved Erma ever by his side, Robert C. Byrd has never forgotten his roots, harkening back to those early lessons that he learned as a child of the Appalachian coalfields.

A Room of Rain Cover

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A Room of Rain

The narratives throughout Gary Fincke’s sixth collection of short stories contain newsworthy events that are chronicled secondhand: the shooting of a policeman, the murder of a house flipper, the firing of a teacher for punching a violent student, the accidental drowning of a gay man in a flood, and a fire somewhat accidently set by a juvenile smoker in a school.

Despite these surprising events, the narrator of each story is an ordinary person caught up in the action but preoccupied by other things, whether zombie movies, collecting unusual words, the oddity of other people’s sexual habits, or what to do in retirement. 

These shocking incidents become both central and peripheral to the narrative, as Fincke portrays the fluctuating emotions and self-protective reflections of fathers, sons, and husbands, creating a world where individuals rarely understand each other, yet still arrive at moments of compassion, tolerance, perseverance, and familial love.

Rural America in a Globalizing World Cover

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Rural America in a Globalizing World

Problems and Prospects for the 2010's

edited by Conner Bailey, Leif Jensen, and Elizabeth Ransom

This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.

The Safey of Deeper Water Cover

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The Safey of Deeper Water

Tim Poland

When Sandy Holston is on dry land, she’s nothing special: a nurse who wears her hair in a ponytail and prefers a fishing lure as an earring. But once she dons waders, picks up a fly rod, and steps into a river, she becomes a remarkable, elegant fisherwoman who’s at peace with the world. After surviving her marriage to Vernon - her violent, incarcerated ex-husband - peace is just what Sandy needs. So she moves to Damascus, a small town on the Ripshin River, where she plans to enjoy the fishing and the solitude. Finally she is on the brink of a life she desires in a place she loves. But as the Ripshin’s trout mysteriously die off, and as Sandy grows closer to a reclusive neighbor who has a propensity for fishing naked, her plans are put in jeopardy. Will Sandy be able to find peace - in the river or out - once Vernon is released from prison and fulfills his promise to hunt her down?

SCREAMING WITH THE CANNIBALS Cover

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SCREAMING WITH THE CANNIBALS

LEE MAYNARD

Screaming with the Cannibals is the sequel to the nationally acclaimed cult classic, Crum. In this action-packed novel, Jesse finds himself in an evangelical service in Kentucky—on the other side of the Tug River from his native West Virginia. As the folks touched by the Spirit rave and howl, Jesse remembers how back in Crum they used to tell him to stay on his side of the river—because the people on the other side were know to eat their children. And now, here he is in a holy-roller church, screaming with the cannibals. Since his earlier adventures, Jesse has visited the West Virginia holler where his family lived before moving up to the greater sophistication of Crum. Here he discovers that his favorite uncle has disappeared from the face of the earth in a moonshining accident. He then meets the girl who makes the earth – or at least the hayloft – move for him. From there he goes to Kentucky, and then to Myrtle Beach, where he gets hired as a lifeguard—although he can't even swim a stroke. Of course, Jesse is in a hurry to go. And, he doesn’t much care where. He only knows that his future is out there – somewhere. Not in a coal mine in Crum, West Virginia. Jesse has no possessions. But, he does have an imagination, strength, intelligence—and a strong sense of right and wrong.  Throughout these hilarious pages, his virtues are tried and tested all over again as he anxiously searches for the freedom he knows exists outside of his tiny hometown.

The Scummers Cover

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The Scummers

LEE MAYNARD

In the third and final part of the Crum Trilogy Jesse Stone once again embarks upon his constant search for a place in the world. At the start of The Scummers, Jesse hits the road and heads West, looking to experience something-anything-that will fulfill his intrinsic desires to escape-and to belong. He ends up in California, where he fools around, mischievously fighting and drinking, yet always narrowly escaping punishment. Soon enough, Jesse runs out of luck. He finds himself arrested and is condemned to serve out his sentence under the supervision of the United States Army. Suddenly Jesse Stone can no longer run. Suddenly Jesse Stone is a solider. Full of intense violence and cutting humor, this tale is the culminating confession of a young man who has wandered from a small town in West Virginia and back again in the hopes of finding his home.

Sectionalism in West Virginia from 1776-1861 Cover

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Sectionalism in West Virginia from 1776-1861

Charles H. Ambler with a new introduction by Barbara Rasmussen

West Virginia statehood was long in the making and its start in politics driven by economic interests, not abolition. Dr. Ambler’s 1910 study of sectionalism in Virginia clearly shows how the East and West of Virginia were always destined to separate. First published in 1910, Ambler’s masterpiece and West Virginia’s first foundation history, has long been out of print. Barbara Rasmussen, professor of public history and director of Cultural Resource Management at West Virginia University, does all West Virginians and historians of American history a truly great service by writing a new introduction to Sectionalism in Virginia, setting Ambler’s grand achievement into the context of its production. “By pointing to the economic and political basis for the differences in Virginia, Professor Ambler created a historical process for studying West Virginia history that asked clearer questions and shunned cultural biases.” —from the Introduction by Barbara Rasmussen.

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