- By Melanie Light Ken Light

Coal Hollow: Photographs and Oral Histories

  • Title: Coal Hollow: Photographs and Oral Histories
  • Author: Melanie Light Ken Light
  • ISBN: 9780520246546
  • Page: 206
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Coal Hollow Photographs and Oral Histories Coal is still king in much of Appalachia yet the heritage and history of the people who enabled the United States to become an economic superpower in the Industrial age are slipping away This remarka

    Coal is still king in much of Appalachia, yet the heritage and history of the people who enabled the United States to become an economic superpower in the Industrial age are slipping away This remarkable book presents arresting black and white photographs and powerful oral histories that chronicle the legacy of coalmining in southern West Virginia Ken and Melanie Light tCoal is still king in much of Appalachia, yet the heritage and history of the people who enabled the United States to become an economic superpower in the Industrial age are slipping away This remarkable book presents arresting black and white photographs and powerful oral histories that chronicle the legacy of coalmining in southern West Virginia Ken and Melanie Light traveled hundreds of miles through rugged, isolated terrain recording the stories of a range of people whose lives were shaped by coal retired miners, men and women who have been jobless their entire lives, a contemporary coal baron, a justice of the State Supreme Court of West Virginia, a writer who bravely ran for governor on a third party ticket, and people who returned to the hills when their lives failed elsewhere What emerges is a complex portrait of people locked into an intricate web of geography, history, and unfettered profiteering In Light s poignant images and in their own distinctive voices the residents of Coal Hollow a fictional composite of the communities the Lights surveyed reveal how the intersection of mountain culture and the greed of the coal companies produced the most powerful economy in the world yet brought crushing poverty to a region of once proud people.

    1 thought on “Coal Hollow: Photographs and Oral Histories

    1. The photography is amazing in this book. The oral histories are poignant. Yet, when taken as a whole, I believe the book can not possibly be an accurate portrayal of the people of West Virginia. Note here that there are only ten oral histories in the book. I've been to West Virginia and have seen nothing of what I see in this book. I've also stayed with friends in a "hollow" in Tennessee and there was one house that would have fit in well with these shown in the book, with a mule being used to p [...]

    2. I liked the photos. Many told of great pain and heartache; many were quite beautiful. The recorded histories offered here, especially by the old miners, are priceless. Yet, this type of book makes me uncomfortable as well. There is the undeniable smack of elitism; city people hauling in their fancy photography equipment, publishing books that most of their subjects couldn't afford. Is this how most of the rest of the country sees my home state?

    3. A Very good book overall. The photos are kinda unremarkable, but the oral histories contained in the book are magnificent.

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