Written in Blood: A CHOICE Review

Written in Blood: Courage and Corruption in the Appalachian War of Extraction

By B.M. Banta
March 2018

Written in Blood comprises stories, interviews, and analyses that continue editor Harris’s unabashedly pro-miner and pro-union quest “to take back our story and the cultural institutions now in the service of extractive industries.” Focused on West Virginia’s coalfields, stories documenting the Esau system and sexual trafficking of teenage girls chronicle degradation and desperation. While these conditions occurred during the first half of the 20th century, Harris contends that contemporary struggles for workplace safety and economic security exist within a contest “between those who … strive to see our land survive and prosper, and those representing the interests of large capital seeking to maximize profit.” Although the book lacks context, libraries with robust holdings in Appalachian and West Virginia history, labor history, and the history of extractive industries should consider adding this book to their collections. Libraries wishing to provide an introduction to the West Virginia mine wars should start with James Green’s The Devil Is Here in These Hills: West Virginia’s Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom

Back to Wess Harris’s Author Page