By Peter Galuszka
This is a shameless advertisement. Jim has written an excellent book and you should buy it and review it.
While some of Jim’s focus is at odds with a similar book I wrote eight years ago, “Maverick Miner” is a really well put together effort at research and writing.
In my reporting, I asked many people, mostly miners, what they thought about E. Morgan Massey. The response: tough on unions but good guy. I heard this over and over. I was told that if rank and file miners had a serious problem, they could call Morgan and he’d come to the mountains to work things out. I heard this a lot and it gives credence to Jim’s book.
You should buy the book, read it, and like it or not, post something on Amazon. Here’s something I did:
“In this book, Jim Bacon, a Richmond journalist, tells a fascinating story about 94-year-old E. Morgan Massey, the former head of coal company that would become highly controversial. Massey paid Bacon to write a private narrative about the Massey family and agreed to let Bacon write his own unabridged account. Taken as a biography and while understanding that this is from Massey’s viewpoint, the result works very well. Massey explains why he hired Donald L. Blankenship, who achieved remarkable notoriety as the boss of Massey Energy, a company spinoff. He ended up in federal prison. The book underestimates the human and environmental cost of coal mining in the Central Appalachians. It also takes Massey’s side in dissecting what caused the April 5, 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners – the worst such U.S. coal disaster in 40 years. Even so, Bacon’s access to internal sources and records is a welcome contribution to understanding a great story.
Peter Galuszka is author of “Thunder on the Mountain: Death At Massey and the Dirty Secrets Behind Big Coal.” (St. Martin’s Press, 2012)