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.
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The "suspenseful and completely absorbing story" (San Francisco Chronicle) of how survivors of the worst coal-mining disaster in history triumphed over corporate irresponsibility—written by the young lawyer who took on their case and won. 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.
The 1977 Sorokin Award–winning story of Buffalo Creek in the aftermath of a devastating flood. On February 26, 1972, 132-million gallons of debris-filled muddy water burst through a makeshift mining-company dam and roared through Buffalo Creek, a narrow mountain hollow in West Virginia. Following the flood, survivors from a previously tightly knit community were crowded into trailer homes with no concern for former neighborhoods. The result was a collective trauma that lasted longer than the individual traumas caused by the original disaster. Making extensive use of the words of the people themselves, Erikson details the conflicting tensions of mountain life in general—the tensions between individualism and dependency, self-assertion and resignation, self-centeredness and group orientation—and examines the loss of connection, disorientation, declining morality, rise in crime, rise in out-migration, etc., that resulted from the sudden loss of neighborhood.
Prolonged Psychosocial Effects of Disaster: A Study of Buffalo Creek disseminates the findings of an investigation into the psychosocial effects of a specific disaster - the collapse of a slag dam that inundated the valley of Buffalo Creek in West Virginia on February 26, 1972. Based on interviews with more than 600 men, women, and children for whom psychic impairment was claimed, this volume examines the relationships between the individual disaster experiences of the survivors and their later psychological functioning. Comprised of nine chapters, this volume begins with an overview of the psychosocial consequences of disasters and an account of the Buffalo Creek disaster itself, along with the subsequent lawsuit against the coal company. The next chapter explains how the psychopathology and stress of the survivors were scaled and gives some information regarding the reliability and validity of the data. Symptoms, sleep problems, family disruption, and traumatic dreams are considered. The findings on these data and the follow-up studies are discussed. The final chapter contains a summary of the findings and proposes specific suggestions as well as a model for future disaster studies. This book will be of most practical importance to mental health scientists and clinicians working with the victims of stress and disaster, and should also be of considerable interest to social and behavioral scientists and, more generally, to administrators of government activities.
A West Virginia family struggles amid the booms and busts of the coal industry in this novel from an author called “Appalachia’s Steinbeck” (Jayne Anne Phillips). Set in present day West Virginia, this debut novel tells the story of a coal mining family—a couple and their four children—living through the latest mining boom and dealing with the mountaintop removal and strip mining that is ruining what is left of their hometown. As the mine turns the mountains "to slag and wastewater, workers struggle with layoffs and children find adventure in the blasted moonscape craters. Strange as This Weather Has Been follows several members of the family, with a particular focus on fifteen–year–old Bant and her mother, Lace. Working at a motel, Bant becomes involved with a young miner while her mother contemplates joining the fight against the mining companies. As domestic conflicts escalate at home, the children are pushed more and more frequently outside among junk from the floods and felled trees in the hollows—the only nature they have ever known. But Bant has other memories and is as curious and strong–willed as her mother, and ultimately comes to discover the very real threat of destruction that looms as much in the landscape as it does at home. “Powerful, sure–footed and haunting.” —The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times best selling true story of an unlikely friendship forged between a woman and the man she incorrectly identified as her rapist and sent to prison for 11 years. Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face-- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives. With Picking Cotton, Jennifer and Ronald tell in their own words the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.