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Posted March 21, 2010
This horror story is non-fiction
Time and again when reading Moving Mountains, I found myself exclaiming, "They can't do that!" The "they" in this case being the state regulators and politicians that we assume are acting in our best interests, or the 300-pound gorilla in West Virginia, King Coal.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
By the end of this epic living history, you find yourself wondering if it was really written in the United States, with our cherished principles of rule of law and every man being equal, or if Penny Loeb wandered into a Third World country and forgot to tell us. But no - it's all true in every sickening detail.
Until you see the complete evisceration of the land that is mountaintop removal/valley fill mining, or see and hear firsthand the wanton abuses of King Coal on the land and the people, it's hard to believe that some of the things in this book actually happened.
But they did (and still are). Loeb relates them in vivid and most excruciating detail, by telling the stories of a small handful of West Virginians who had finally had enough of King Coal's daily abuses, affronts to their dignity and assaults on their health, homes and families. If she has a fault, it is that she tries to be too fair to all sides, which dilutes the power of the opposing viewpoints; and her drive to be all-inclusive of all the individuals and groups involved in the fight against King Coal and for social justice of necessity leaves out or minimizes the roles of some key players (the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition is a good example of the latter).
Moving Mountains is both a gripping, deeply person narrative about the underdog going up against the corporate behemoth, and a cautionary tale about what our nation's insatiable hunger for energy is doing to one state, West Virginia, which truly is becoming America's National Energy Sacrifice Zone.