Coal River

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jan 8, 2008 - Political Science - 336 pages
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One of America's most dramatic environmental battles is unfolding in southern West Virginia. Coal companies are blasting the mountains, decapitating them for coal. The forested ridge tops and valley streams of Appalachia—one of the country's natural treasures—are being destroyed, along with towns and communities. An entire culture is disappearing, and to this day, most Americans have no idea it's happening.

Michael Shnayerson first traveled to the coal fields four years ago, on assignment for Vanity Fair. There he met an inspiring young lawyer named Joe Lovett, who was fighting mountaintop removal in court with a series of brilliant and daring lawsuits. He also met Judy Bonds, whose grassroots group, the Coal River Mountain Watch, was speaking out in a region where talking truth to power was both brave and dangerous. The two had joined forces to take on Massey Energy, the largest and most aggressive of the coal companies, and its swaggering, notorious chairman, Don Blankenship.

Coal River is Shnayerson's account of this dramatic struggle. From courtroom to boardroom, forest clearing to factory floor, Shnayerson gives us a novelistic and compelling portrait of the people who risked their reputations and livelihoods in the fight against King Coal.

 

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User Review  - Dogberryjr - LibraryThing

I wish I could say that the book shocked me, unfortunately, as a West Virginia resident, it did not. It pleases me that the plight of West Virginia's mountains, streams and people now gets a bit of ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue A Valley Under Siege
3
One The Tipoff from Tony
11
Two A Brule Force Called Massey
19
Three Fighting Back
36
Four A ShortLived Legal Victory
59
Five Slacking the State Supreme Court
76
Six The War with Washington
95
Seven A School in Masseys Shadow
128
Eleven Dons Terrible Year
200
Twelve Turning a Courtroom Loss Around
210
Thirteen A Walk Through West Virginia
218
Fourteen Back in Court Against the Corps
236
Fifteen Don Goes for It All
261
Sixteen A Ruling at Last
276
Epilogue The View from Kayford Mountain
295
Notes
299

Eight The Dead Souls of Smithers
146
Nine Marching in the Valley
164
Ten Masseys Unwelcome New Friend
183
Acknowledgments
307
index
309
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Michael Shnayerson is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. His books include The Car That Could: GM's Revolutionary Electric Vehicle and The Killers Within: The Deadly Rise of Drug-Resistant Bacteria with co-author Mark J. Plotkin.

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