How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn’s bestselling — and timeless — classic and the basis of a beloved film. As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn’s characters fight, love, laugh and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.
Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh
*Also available in our ebook collection*
Bakerton is a community of company houses and church festivals, of union squabbles and firemen’s parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. For its tight-knit citizens — and the five children of the Novak family — the 1940s will be a decade of excitement, tragedy, and stunning change. Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America’s industrial past, and to the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. It is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill.
The Black Country by Alex Grecian
When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of The Yard, Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they’re about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound. And the village itself is slowly sinking into the mines beneath it.
A Blue Moon in Poorwater by Cathryn Hankla
Cathryn Hankla’s first novel is an engaging coming-of-age story set in the small Appalachian mining town of Poorwater, Virginia. It is the summer of 1968, and the narrator, inquisitive ten-year-old Dorie Parks, is getting ready to enter fifth grade when her errant older brother Willie returns to town. A religious fanatic and suspected drug user, Willie represents to the residents of Poorwater the hippie counterculture that threatens their conservative town, and his return is the catalyst for a string of strange and sometimes tragic events. Dorie’s father, a miner, begins a dangerous labor rights crusade after a mining accident leaves a close friend dead. Dorie struggles to understand the class differences that separate “holler kids” and trailer park children like herself from her wealthy friend Betty. Hankla’s graceful writing evokes the wonder and growing sophistication of a young girl on the verge of adolescence and an unknown future. A Blue Moon in Poorwater offers a moving yet unsentimental slice of life in Appalachian, Virginia.
Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped End Child Labor by Michael Burgan
Little boys, some as young as 6, spent their long days, not playing or studying, but sorting coal in dusty, loud, and dangerous conditions. Many of these breaker boys worked 10 hours a day, six days a week all for as little as 45 cents a day. Child labor was common in the United States in the 19th century. It took the compelling, heart breaking photographs of Lewis Hine and others to bring the harsh working conditions to light. Hine and his fellow Progressives wanted to end child labor. He knew photography would reveal the truth and teach and change the world. With his camera Hine showed people what life was like for immigrants, the poor, and the children working in mines, factories, and mills. In the words of a historian, the more than 7,000 photos Hine took of American children at work aroused public sentiment against child labor in a way that no printed page or public lecture could.
Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith by Jeff Goodell
The nation stopped and held its collective breath as word spread of the plight of the nine Pennsylvania coal miners who where trapped underground for 77 hours. Nine miners were below when water trapped in an adjacent mine burst through the wall of the new mine they were working. As the air grew thinner and the men grew colder, they listened to the water rising around them in the honeycomb of coal veins. Sitting in a small air pocket, the men wrote farewell notes to their families and sealed them in a lunch bucket. On the surface, the rescue effort became hampered when a special drill bit snapped. The drill would lay idle for 14 hours, effectively halting the rescue, as a replacement was brought in. Hope and despondency alternated, as the determined rescue team made progress, then hit setbacks. Below ground, standing in water and chilling temperatures, the men rode the same waves of hope and despair, all in complete darkness. The successful rescue of the Nine for Nine miners lifted the spirits of an entire nation. Now everyone can hear the complete story of this harrowing accident — how these men and their families had the strength and bravery it took to survive the incredible ordeal, and of the frantic efforts to save them.