Something's Rising by Silas House
Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal

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Like an old-fashioned hymn sung in rounds, Something's Rising gives a stirring voice to the lives, culture, and determination of the people fighting the destructive practice of mountaintop removal in the coalfields of central Appalachia. Each person's story, unique and unfiltered, articulates the hardship of living in these majestic mountains amid the daily desecration of the land by the coal industry because of America's insistence on cheap energy. Developed as an alternative to strip mining, mountaintop removal mining consists of blasting away the tops of mountains, dumping waste into the valleys, and retrieving the exposed coal. This process buries streams, pollutes wells and waterways, and alters fragile ecologies in the region. The people who live, work, and raise families in central Appalachia face not only the physical destruction of their land but also the loss of their culture and health in a society dominated by the consequences of mountaintop removal. Included here are oral histories from Jean Ritchie, "the mother of folk," who doesn't let her eighty-six years slow down her fighting spirit; Judy Bonds, a tough-talking coal-miner's daughter; Kathy Mattea, the beloved country singer who believes cooperation is the key to winning the battle; Jack Spadaro, the heroic whistle-blower who has risked everything to share his insider knowledge of federal mining agencies; Larry Bush, who doesn't back down even when speeding coal trucks are used to intimidate him; Denise Giardina, a celebrated writer who ran for governor to bring attention to the issue; and many more. The book features both well-known activists and people rarely in the media. Each oral history is prefaced with a biographical essay that vividly establishes the interview settings and the subjects' connections to their region. Written and edited by native sons of the mountains, this compelling book captures a fever-pitch moment in the movement against mountaintop removal. Silas House and Jason Howard are experts on the history of resistance in Appalachia, the legacy of exploitation of the region's natural resources, and area's unique culture and landscape. This lyrical and informative text provides a critical perspective on a powerful industry. The cumulative effect of these stories is stunning and powerful. Something's Rising will long stand as a testament to the social and ecological consequences of energy at any cost and will be especially welcomed by readers of Appalachian studies, environmental science, and by all who value the mountain's majesty -- our national heritage.


About Silas House

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Silas House is the nationally best-selling author of Eli the Good as well as the award-winning novels Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. He is an associate professor at Berea College and lives in eastern Kentucky. Neela Vaswani is the award-winning author of You Have Given Me a Country and Where the Long Grass Bends. Her work has received an American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. She teaches at Spalding University's MFA in writing program and is the founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library. Neela Vaswani lives in New York City.
Published March 16, 2009 by The University Press of Kentucky. 320 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Something's Rising

Publishers Weekly

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Novelist House (Clay's Quilt) and Kentucky journalist Howard, both ""children of Appalachia,"" decided to pick up where the national media have left off in their environmental obsession, illuminating the long-growing mining crisis in Central Appalachia.

| Read Full Review of Something's Rising: Appalachi...


There’s nothing wishy-washy about the point of view of Something’s Rising, a new book about mountaintop-removal coal mining written by two Eastern Kentuckians, novelist Silas House and journalist Jason Howard.

May 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Something's Rising: Appalachi...

Red Room

The voices rising in this fine and essential collection gathered by novelists Silas House and Jason Howard each sings their own song of the people and land protesting the violence being done to it by Energy companies and their practice of mountaintop removal...strip mining with a vengeance.

Apr 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Something's Rising: Appalachi...

Project MUSE

Although half of the U.S. electricity comes from coal energy, many Americans know precious little about an earth-ravaging mining practice called mountain top removal (MTR) used to extract coal in Southern Appalachia.

| Read Full Review of Something's Rising: Appalachi...

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