Memory of a Miner: A True-Life Story from Harlan County's Heyday

Memory of a Miner: A True-Life Story from Harlan County's Heyday

by Dr Michael Ruth


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Memory of a Miner: A True-Life Story from Harlan County's Heyday by Dr Michael Ruth

It's a cool, foggy morning in early April 1941. Miners gather at Crummies Creek to organize the day's picket... standard picketing routine. But this morning's different, and it doesn't take long to find that out.

"We was just a-millin' about, a-talkin' about how we was gonna set up our picket line. All of a sudden, it sounded to me like we was in a war! Bullets was flyin' all around us. Miners was a-callin' out to take cover and took to runnin'..."

The miners had been ambushed by gun thugs - the "dirty law" hired by the coal owner/operators of that day to strong arm miners and keep them from unionizing. The place was a killing field... and the old miner was right in the thick of it. And because of what he soon discovers, he describes it as the saddest day of his life.

"Memory of a Miner" is the true account of one man's journey as an old-school miner in the southern Appalachian coal mining region of Harlan County, Kentucky, between 1931 and 1959 - the same period that "bloody Harlan" gained its reputation as the battleground for some of the most insidious conflicts over worker's rights this country has ever known.

But despite coal wars at home and the World War abroad, the fun times shared and the friendships made make this the most treasured time of life for most of those who lived it. That was certainly true for this miner and his family!

"Memory of a Miner" chronicles the joy and sadness, success and failure, hardship and bounty of this miner on an intimate scale. It is a visitation into the life of a man full or courage, strength and wit who only knew one way to live - all in.

Anyone who enjoys a good story will be delighted to discover hilarious, one-of-a-kind real-life adventures recreated by this world-class storyteller.

Those with mining in their roots will certainly identify with the day-to-day challenges, risks and victories revisited in Memory of a Miner. Even though it is the recording of one miner's experience, it truly documents the life and times of all miners of that day.

In addition, Memory of a Miner retains the historical integrity of the period by weaving facts of record with first-hand accounts of a miner right in the thick of it. Students of southern Appalachian history will appreciate not only the accuracy of the chronicle but also the personal perspective Memory of a Miner affords.

Finally, readers who fancy stories about salt-of-the-earth folk who fight for what they believe in...and win...will love the way this book fleshes out the robust day-to-day life of real people who knew how to work hard and play hard.

Memory of a Miner is an inspiring commentary on life which we are all drawn to - a real-life story of one who faced daunting challenges and not only persevered, but was truly determined to enjoy life.

Personal Note from the Author
The inspiration for Memory of a Miner began in seed form a full twenty years ago when I approached my aging dad with the idea of writing a book about his days as an old-school miner in Harlan County.

Dad had this captivating knack for telling stories, and his favorite pastime happened to be talking about his mining years, so I was well supplied with the material I needed to put this oral history to paper.

And thus the journey began.

Countless hours were shared with Dad and Mother in conversation, recording story after story. I then visited places of relevance in Harlan County, speaking with others who also experienced that volatile time firsthand. Finally I spent several more years doing research in order to build out the context of the story.

I wrote Memory of a Miner not only to honor my dad but all miners who put their life on the line every day for their family, and to preserve a cherished slice of Southern Appalachian history for my readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780990551409
Publisher: Growth Resources
Publication date: 07/22/2014
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

In addition to his 25-year writing career, Dr. Michael Ruth is a counselor/psychotherapist in private practice for more than 23 years. He was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, but he grew up in East Tennessee, at the foot of the magnificent Smoky Mountains, where he still lives with his wife Susan and in close proximity to their now-grown children and new grandson.

Dr. Ruth holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, theology, and counseling, and his doctorate is specifically a Doctor of Philosophy in religion and society - with a counseling concentration. His doctoral dissertation - Virulent Personality Disorder: A Proposal for the Clinical Classification of Pathological Evil as a Psychiatric Disorder - received an award of excellence from Oxford Graduate School.

He went on to publish his first book, Shadow Work: A New Guide to Spiritual and Psychological Growth, in 1999. Since then he has written on the subject of personal growth as well as the developmental stages of childhood, and he serves on the book review board for The Family, a professional family therapy journal.

Having taught high school Ancient and U. S. History, Mike's a history buff to boot. So, in addition to this being a personal project, the extensive research required for Memory of a Miner was right up his alley!

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