What a pleasant surprise. That title, let alone the sub-title, conjures up images of a polemic that disparages a county-seat Eastern Kentucky town and smugly settles on a prediction of a future of doom and despair. The Preface begins the author’s attempt to set the record straight by objecting to the 2016 flurry of stories about Appalachia as the essence of Trump Country. The author, Alan Maimon, arrived in Hazard, Kentucky, as the Louisville Courier Journal’s Eastern Kentucky reporter in 2000 fresh from a New York Times assignment in Berlin. Slowly he began to appreciate more and more that the forces that exploited and helped define Eastern Kentucky were quintessentially American forces. Later he married an Eastern Kentucky woman, although they now live in New Jersey. Yes, this news-rich and commentary-laden memoir does not shy away from dastardly and violent local politicians, but it does lay the region’s problems squarely on the laps of the pharmaceutical and non-renewable energy giants. “Twilight in Hazard chronicles the decades of taking that Appalachia has weathered, but it also chronicles the strength and resiliency of the human spirit of those who have been left behind. This book is harrowing, angering, and, most importantly, true.” —Wiley Cash. “In tight, compelling prose, Twilight in Hazard takes us directly to the heart of one of America's most serious problems: the decline of local news. This book, with its indelible sense of place, may break your heart but it may also strengthen our collective resolve to find solutions to this crisis before it is entirely too late.” —Margaret Sullivan. “Alan Maimon is right to make ‘An Appalachian Reckoning’ the subtitle of this wise, compassionate book, where truly ‘We gather in our memories and reckon up the cost.’” —Si Kahn.
Brooklyn, New York: Melville House, 2021. 294 pages with an Index and Notes and a map. Hardback in dust jacket.