The Scotia Widows

Author: Gerald Stern
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588367501
Release Date: 2008-08-26
Genre: Law

On March 9, 1976, a violent explosion, fueled by high concentrations of methane gas and coal dust, ripped through the Scotia mine in the heart of Eastern Kentucky coal country. The blast killed fifteen miners who were working nearly three and a half miles underground; two days later, a second explosion took the lives of eleven rescue workers. For the miners’ surviving family members, the loss of their husbands, fathers, and sons was only the beginning of their nightmare. In The Scotia Widows, Gerald M. Stern, the groundbreaking litigator and acclaimed author of The Buffalo Creek Disaster, recounts the epic four-year legal struggle waged by the widows in the aftermath of the disaster. Stern shares a story of loss, scandal, and perseverance–and the plaintiffs’ fight for justice against the titanic forces of “Big Daddy Coal.” Confronted at nearly every turn by a hostile judge and the scorched-earth defense of the Scotia mine’s owners, family members also withstood the opprobrium of some of their neighbors, most of whom relied on coal mining for their livelihoods. Meanwhile, Stern, representing the widows of the disaster on contingency, amassed huge bills and encountered a litany of formidable obstacles. The Eastern Kentucky trial judge withheld disclosure of his own personal financial interest in coal mining, and a popular pro-coal former Kentucky governor served as the lead defense counsel. The judge also suppressed as evidence the federal mine study that pointed to numerous safety violations at the Scotia mine: In a rush to produce more coal, necessary ventilation had been short-circuited, miners had not been trained in the use of self-rescue equipment, and ventilation inspections had not been made. Moreover, Scotia did not even have a trained rescue team. Ultimately, the Scotia widows’ ordeal helped to inspire the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, which changed safety regulations for coal mines throughout the country. The Scotia Widows portrays in gripping detail young women deciding to pursue a landmark legal campaign against powerful corporate interests and the judge who protected them. It is a critically important and timeless story of ordinary people who took a stand and refused to give up hope for justice. Praise for The Scotia Widows: “This is a very scary story, a guided tour of the grinding cogs and spinning wheels inside the machinery of justice. Gerald Stern’s compassionate account of the ordeal of the Scotia widows shows you how horribly out of kilter it can all get when greed and self-interest are at the controls. Only with luck and the expertise of Stern does justice emerge in the end, a bit tarnished but still intact.” –Jonathan Harr, author of A Civil Action From the Hardcover edition.

The Scotia Widows

Author: Gerald M. Stern
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 9781400067640
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Law

An attorney goes behind the scenes of his six-year legal battle with Scotia and the Blue Diamond Coal Company on behalf of the families of the fifteen miners and six rescuers killed in a 1976 explosion in Eastern Kentucky.


Author: Colleen Ryckert Cook
Publisher: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc
ISBN: 9781435894822
Release Date: 2010-08-15
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

Provides comprehensive information on the geography, history, wildlife, governmental structure, industries, and key figures of Kentucky.

Book Review Index 2009

Author: Dana Ferguson
Publisher: Gale Cengage
ISBN: 1414419120
Release Date: 2009-08
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

The Buffalo Creek Disaster

Author: Gerald M. Stern
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307783844
Release Date: 2011-01-26
Genre: Social Science

One Saturday morning in February 1972, an impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company burst, sending a 130 million gallon, 25 foot tidal wave of water, sludge, and debris crashing into southern West Virginia's Buffalo Creek hollow. It was one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history. 125 people were killed instantly, more than 1,000 were injured, and over 4,000 were suddenly homeless. Instead of accepting the small settlements offered by the coal company's insurance offices, a few hundred of the survivors banded together to sue. This is the story of their triumph over incredible odds and corporate irresponsibility, as told by Gerald M. Stern, who as a young lawyer and took on the case and won. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Last Man Out

Author: Melissa Fay Greene
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547995045
Release Date: 2015-09-24
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

The deepest coal mine in North America was notoriously unpredictable. One late October evening in 1958, it "bumped" - its rock floors heaving up and smashing into rock ceilings. A few miners staggered out, most of the 174 on shift did not. Nineteen men were trapped, plunged into darkness, hunger, thirst, and hallucination. As days and nights passed, the survivors began to hope for death by gas rather than from thirst. Above ground, journalists and families stood in despairing vigil, as rescuers brought out scores of the dead. The hope of finding life undergound faded and families made funeral preparations. Then, a miracle: Rescuers stumbled across a broken pipe leading to a cave of survivors, then a second group was discovered. A media circus followed. Ed Sullivan, then the state of Georgia, invited survivors to visit. Publicity, politics, and segregation sorted the men differently than they had ordered themselves. Underground, the one black survivor nursed a dying man; in Atlanta, Governor Marvin Griffin said: "I will not shake hands with a Negro." If every great writer has one tale of peril, heroism, and survival, Last Man Out is Melissa Fay Greene's. Using long-lost stories and interviews with survivors, Greene has reconstructed the drama of their struggle to stay alive

Joe Gould s Secret

Author: Joseph Mitchell
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 9781504026611
Release Date: 2016-01-26
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

The enduring cult classic by an icon of American journalism Acclaimed journalist and staff writer for the New Yorker Joseph Mitchell tells the story of Joe Gould, “an odd and penniless and unemployable little man who came to this city in 1916 and ducked and dodged and held on as hard as he could for over thirty-five years.” Written originally as two separate profiles (“Professor Sea Gull” in 1942 and then “Joe Gould’s Secret” twenty-two years later), the biography captures both Mitchell and Gould at their finest. Over a twenty-year association, as Mitchell learns more about Gould and his epic Oral History—a reputedly nine-million-word collection of philosophizing, wanderings, and hearsay that the supposed Harvard man Gould termed “the informal history of the shirt-sleeved multitude”—he uncovers a secret that adds even more eccentricities to the already unusual story of the local legend. This bounteous and elusive history, so esteemed that even Pound and Cummings discussed it in letters, would ultimately serve to unlock the “lost soul named Joe Gould.” Mitchell’s last major work before the writer’s block that left him virtually silent for thirty-two years, Joe Gould’s Secret captures one of American journalism’s ascendant young masters at his peak and serves to mark an artist-subject relationship for the ages. “You pick someone so close that in fact you are writing about yourself,” an aging Mitchell told the Washington Post four years before his death. “Talking to Joe Gould all those years he became me in a way, if you see what I mean.” And as the reader comes to understand Gould’s secret, Mitchell’s words become all the more prescient. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Joseph Mitchell including rare images from the author’s estate.

Blood Diamonds Revised Edition

Author: Greg Campbell
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465029921
Release Date: 2012-04-03
Genre: History

First discovered in 1930, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have funded one of the most savage rebel campaigns in modern history. These "blood diamonds" are smuggled out of West Africa and sold to legitimate diamond merchants in London, Antwerp, and New York, often with the complicity of the international diamond industry. Eventually, these very diamonds find their way into the rings and necklaces of brides and spouses the world over. Blood Diamondsis the gripping tale of how the diamond smuggling works, how the rebel war has effectively destroyed Sierra Leone and its people, and how the policies of the diamond industry - institutionalized in the 1880s by the De Beers cartel - have allowed it to happen. Award-winning journalist Greg Campbell traces the deadly trail of these diamonds, many of which are brought to the world market by fanatical enemies. These repercussions of diamond smuggling are felt far beyond the borders of the poor and war-ridden country of Sierra Leone, and the consequences of overlooking this African tragedy are both shockingly deadly and unquestionably global. Updated with a new epilogue.

Fall On Your Knees

Author: Ann-Marie MacDonald
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451641656
Release Date: 2011-01-25
Genre: Fiction

The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives -- even destroy them. Set on stormy Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love. Compellingly written, by turns menacingly dark and hilariously funny, this is an epic tale of five generations of sin, guilt, and redemption.

The Saga of Cimba

Author: Richard Maury
Publisher: Pickle Partners Publishing
ISBN: 9781787200302
Release Date: 2016-08-09
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

First published in 1939, this book is a vivid account of Richard Maury’s voyage from New York to Fiji in the small, 35-foot, Nova Scotia-built schooner Cimba. When a 23-year-old Maury and a likeminded sailor filled with wanderlust set off into the winter North Atlantic on November 30, 1933, it proved to be an expedition of high adventure, and one embarked upon at a time when such voyages were practically unheard of. The reader is taken on a fascinating journey to Bermuda and, from there, to Grand Turk, Jamaica, Panama and through the Canal, with the two young sailors finding their every dream come true at Galapagos, Marquesas, Tahiti, Samoa—culminating in a gripping finale at Fiji... “If I were asked to pick the best book in recent years about deep water cruising in a small yacht, I would unhesitatingly choose The Saga of Cimba by Richard Maury. “Maury went to sea because he loved being at sea and ports to him were interruptions rather than objectives. The story of his cruise is the story of the struggles and triumphs of his diminutive schooner in breasting thousands of miles of deep water. It is the sailing of the schooner that engrossed him. The yarn is the story of a boat rather than the story of her skipper. One can go on to the book’s last enthralling page and be left speculating on what sort of a man this Maury is. He never tells you. You have to sense it from his attitude toward his little vessel. But you are left in no doubt about Cimba herself. You know what manner of ship she is. You know every inch of her by the time you have seen her to the Fijis.”—Rudder Magazine“Told with such beauty that it will win the admiration not only of those who sail but of the whole reading public”—New York World Telegram. “One of the finest sea yarns of all times”—Rudder. “Bound to be the classic of this type”—Boston Transcript. “Reality he most exciting small boat yarn I have read”—FELIX REISENBERG.