Outwardly, this is a biography of the author’s father, a fifth generation West Virginia coal miner who opened boxing gyms in hopes of providing opportunity and nurture for local at-risk youths. Todd Snyder does not flinch from expanding upon the stories of the youths in the gym to explore issues of social class, gender, work, family and even regional history. “This memoir will appeal to many readers: those in gender studies who study manifestations of masculinity, scholars who examine the collapse of the coalfields and the rampant unemployment found in Central Appalachia, and West Virginians who possess a fierce pride in the Mountain State and celebrate small-town triumphs.” – Jeff Mann. Booklist gave it a starred review. Kirkus Reviews opined, “An affecting testimonial to the power of action and of storytelling—to say nothing of a good right hook—to make real change.” The author is an English professor at Siena College and the author of The Rhetoric of Appalachian Identity.
Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2018. 232 pages with an Index and Notes. Trade paperback