Monongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster

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To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Monongah, West Virginia mine disaster, the West Virginia University Press is honored to carry Davitt McAteer’s definitive history of the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. Monongah documents the events that led to the explosion, which claimed hundreds of lives on the morning of December 6, 1907.

Nearly thirty years of exhaustive research have led McAteer to the conclusion that close to 500 men and boys—many of them immigrants—lost their lives that day, leaving hundreds of women widowed and more than one thousand children orphaned. McAteer delves deeply into the personalities, economic forces, and social landscape of the mining communities of north central West Virginia at the beginning of the twentieth century. The tragedy at Monongah led to a greater awareness of industrial working conditions, and ultimately to the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, which Davitt McAteer helped to enact.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Monongah is an important book, long overdue."
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor

"McAteer skillfully analyzes the tragedy, examining players on the company side from the upper levels of the rich and powerful to the mine supervision and operations level, while giving equal weight and voice to the immigrant groups that provided the vast majority of the victims... It is fortuante that a man of David McAteer's caliber undertook to tell the tragic story."
Charles McCollester, West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional History

"Monongah is a major scholary work, and another in a series of WVU Press offerings that tells previously untold stories about the people who really built West Virginia, and often suffered in doing so."
Ken Ward, The West Virginia Lawyer

"[Monongah] is a compelling, cautionary tale of avarice and corruption, as well as a testament to the ultimate resilience of exploited people."
Shirley Stewart Burns, The Journal of Southern History

"McAteer's work is undeniably significant and his extensive research is evident."
Joshua StahlmanPennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933202297
  • Publisher: West Virginia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Series: West Virginia and Appalachia Ser.
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Davitt McAteer is internationally recognized as an expert on mine and workplace health and safety. He has worked with consumer advocate Ralph Nader to enact the 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. He was also involved in the recovery efforts at Ground Zero shortly after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. He has also conducted an independent investigation on the cause of the Sago Mine Disaster. Today, McAteer is vice president of Wheeling Jesuit University and maintains a law office in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he lives with his wife Kathryn.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction by Robert B. Reich J.H. Leonard, Oiler for the No. 6 Mine The Northern Coal Fields of West Virginia Lester Emmitt Trader: Assistant Fire Boss at Age 22 The Company Men The Mining Companies: The Early Years The City of Mines Immigrants Wanted "Hire Bands or Anything That is Neccessary" And the Explosion Came Escape and Rescue "They Are All Gone" "We Know So Little About How These Explosions Occur" The Monongah Mine Relief Fund in Aid of Sufferers from the Monangah Mine Explosion Wheels of Justice The Number "An End to This Huge Loss and Waste" The Conscience of a Nation Postscript Notes Bibliography Individuals Mentioned in Monongah Reprint of the Mines Relief Committee Report Index

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