The Revivalist At Home

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If I seemed a little distracted last year, it was because I was high on paint fumes and trying to find my laptop amidst remodeling rubble. Our place is finally done…

Sweet Decay At a Mountain Resort


William Jones hates highway driving—he told me this during one of our text marathons—so I felt bad when he aimed for an I-64 entrance ramp, me following his minivan, certain…

Buy, Borrow, or Steal?


I rarely need a forty foot ladder, but this weekend, my sewer drain sprung a leak. This giant pipe runs clear to the roof where it syphons rainwater, though the plumber could have said it led to a magical rooftop…

Canary in the Code Mine

J. Paul Gorman, one of Appalachia’s newest coders. Photo by Philip Scott Andrews.

Coal is dead. There, I said it. It’s a tough pill for Appalachia to swallow—where coal has underpinned local economies for more than a century, where it’s given folks who hold nothing but high…

The Mine Wars, Rewriting History


I’m such a slacker. On Wednesday night, The Mine Wars premiered on the PBS series American Experience, and I have to admit I missed it. (If it’s any comfort, PBS, I was binge…

The Hills are Alive

Writer Anna Lea Jancewicz and her grandmother in the mining town of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, 1979.

There is another Appalachia, just as gritty as ours but across of the Mason-Dixon line. Anna Lea Jancewicz was born and half-raised there. With this stirring essay, she describes a landscape that might…

16 Tons of Prizes

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By the time Tennessee Ernie Ford released the tune “16 Tons” in 1955, he was already successful. He’d recorded a few hits, hosted an NBC quiz series, appeared in a reoccurring role on I…

Appalachian Drag

Appalachian drag

James Napier wears a lot of hats. Monday through Friday, he’s a sociology professor at Mountwest Community & Technical College, where he helps students look beyond their own experiences and see larger social patterns….

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