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Coal Mining
Numerous books, both fact and fiction, have been written about coal mining. A sampling appear on this page.
Baker Towers
Jennifer Haigh / January, 2005
Bakerton is a community of company houses, church festivals, and firemen's parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. The town is dominated by two giant mountains of mine waste known as Baker Towers.
Jennifer Haigh was born in Barnesboro (now known as Northern Cambria), in western Pennsylvania. "Baker Towers" is dead-on in its depiction of local coal region culture from the 1940's thru the 1960's. The descriptions will be very familiar to any coal cracker.
Bucket of Blood, The Ragman's War
R. S. Sukle / December, 2003
"Bucket of Blood: The Ragman's War" chronicles the depravation and indignities suffered by the families in the Russellton camps in Western PA during the 1927-28 strike. Author R.S. Sukle explores the glimmers of hope appearing through relief efforts by the sons of a local farmer who become union activists.
Anthracite Heritage Museum and Scranton Iron Furnaces
Harold W. Aurand / November, 2002
Coalcracker Culture
Harold W. Aurand / June, 2003
The Black Land: Remnants of the Once & Great Anthracite Coal Industry
Ed Dougert / Paperback / January, 2003
A photographic essay.
The Coal King's Slaves
William G. Williams / Paperback / November 2002
Takes readers back to the late 1800's when the mining of coal created jobs, built towns, and powered the ships, trains, and factories leapfrogging the United States into one of the world's most powerful nations. But it also snuffed out the lives of too many men and boys and left too many widows struggling to keep the rest of their families intact.
St. Clair : A Nineteenth-Century Coal Town's Experience With a Disaster-Prone Industry
Anthony F. C. Wallace / Paperback / September 1988
A historical anthropologist, Mr. Wallace is a Bancroft prizewinning historian.
Unseen Danger : A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire
David Dekok / Paperback / Published May 2000
How the Centralia mine fire really started in 1962. How local, state and federal government officials failed to take effective action, allowing the fire to move underneath the small town of Centralia, Pennsylvania.
Out of This Furnace
Thomas Bell / Paperback / Published October 1976
Novel about working-class Slovak immigrants in Pennsylvania. This book has received very good reviews on Amazon.
The Kingdom of Coal: Work, Enterprise, and Ethnic Communities in the Mine Fields
Donald L. Miller, Richard E. Sharpless / Paperback / Published April 1999
A well-documented history of a giant American industry and a fascinating story of the unique regional culture that it spawned.
Smokestacks and Black Diamonds : A History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania
Joan Campion / Paperback / Published March 1998
This is a superbly illustrated history of Carbon County, Pennsylvania, from its early development through its years as the source of America's best-quality anthracite - the fuel of the Industrial Revolution - and the years of decline, to the present. A very handsome book, printed on high-quality paper, over 220 illustrations, extensive bibliography and index.
THE MINERS OF WINDBER: THE STRUGGLES OF NEW IMMIGRANTS FOR UNIONIZATION, 1890s-1930s
Mildred Allen Beik / Paperback / Published 1996
PENNSYLVANIA MINING FAMILIES;THE SEARCH FOR DIGNITY IN THE COALFIELDS
Barry P. Michrina / Hardcover / Published 1993
ANOTHER CIVIL WAR: LABOR, CAPITAL, AND THE STATE IN THE ANTHRACITE REGIONS OF PENNSYLVANIA, 1840-1868 (The Working Class in American History)
Grace Palladino / Hardcover / Published 1990
CLOUD BY DAY: THE STORY OF COAL AND COKE AND PEOPLE
Muriel Earley Sheppard / Hardcover / Published 1991
Dawn at Dunnelson
Diana Carra / Paperback / Published 1999
In her first published work, author Diana Carra draws upon her own experiences in painting a portrait of life in a small, close-knit community in the Pennsylvania Anthracite Mountains. The book is a brilliantly and sensitively written collection of tales involving the local citizenry.
Coalseam; Poems from the Anthracite Region
Karen Blomain, Frank MacShane / Hardcover / Published 1996
An anthology of regional poems. Karen Blomain is the winner of two PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Awards, the Micole Mickerson Literature Award, and the F. Lammont Belin Arts Award, among others. She has also been the recipient of two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Knox Mine Disaster
Robert C. Wolensky, Kenneth Wolensky, Nicole H. Wolensky / Paperback / Published 1999
Subtitled: The Final Years of the Northern Anthracite Industry and the Effort to Rebuild a Regional Economy. The true story of this famous mine accident in 1959, along with analysis of the demise of deep coal mining in the anthracite region.
Those Who Favor Fire: A Novel
Lauren Wolk / Hardcover / Published 1999
A well-reviewed fictional story loosely based on Centralia
When the Mines Closed : Stories of Struggles in Hard Times
Thomas Dublin, George Harvan (Photographer) / Paperback / Published 1998
When the Mines Closed tells this story in the words of men and women who experienced these dramatic changes and in more than eighty photographs of these individuals, their families, and the larger community.

Award-winning historian Thomas Dublin interviewed a cross-section of residents and migrants from the region, who gave their own accounts of their work and family lives before and after the mines closed. Most of the narrators, six men and seven women, came of age during the Great Depression and entered area mines or, in the case of the women, garment factories, in their teens. They describe the difficult choices they faced, and the long-standing ethnic, working-class values and traditions they drew upon, when after World War II the mines began to shut down. Some left the region, others commuted to work at a distance, still others struggled to find employment locally.

Ancient Sunshine : The Story of Coal
James B. Goode / Paperback / Published 1997
The Bottomland ~
Harry Humes / Paperback / Published 1995
Breaker Boys
Jan Kubicki / Published 1988
Coal Miners' Wives : Portraits of Endurance
Carol A. B. Giesen / Hardcover / Published 1995
Germanville
Norm Oley / Paperback / Published 1997
Handbook of Practical Coal Geology ~
Larry Thomas / Paperback / Published 1992
Hardcastle ~
John Yount, Jayne Yount / Paperback / Published 1992
Notts : A Striking Novel ~
William O'Rourke / Hardcover / Published 1996
Pennsylvania Mining Families : The Search for Dignity in the Coalfields ~
Barry P. Michrina, Barry P. Minchrina / Hardcover / Published 1993
The United Mine Workers of America : A Model of Industrial Solidarity? ~
John H. M. Laslett (Editor), et al / Hardcover / Published 1996
 
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