FREE Shipping!


Books about the Appalachian economy range from the heart-breaking to the uplifting! Among the most heartbreaking are the books about the building of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel in West Virginia beginning in 1927 by a subsidiary of Union Carbide. As a result of ingesting silicon dust, it is estimated that over 700 workers, the majority African-Americans, died. The Hawk’s Nest Incident: America’s Worst Industrial Disaster (1986) by Martin Cherniack remains the best overview. The Takeover: Chicken Farming and the Roots of American Agribusiness (2017) by Monica R. Gisolfi tell a less cataclysmic story, but one that is still depressing. In contrast, Factory Man (2015) by Beth Macy tells an uplifting story of the Bassett Furniture Company in Henry County, Virginia. An outstanding economic history of a particular urban community, in this case Chattanooga, is Constructing the Dynamo of Dixie (2018) by Courtney Elizabeth Knapp. The Road to Poverty: The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia (2000) by Dwight B. Billings and Katherleen M. Blee is one of the best economic histories of a rural community, in this case Clay County, Kentucky. See also Sovereign Entrepreneurs: Cherokee Small-Business Owners and the Making of Economic Sovereignty (2019) by Courtney Lewis. Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up (2016) by Anthony Flaccavento, an organic farmer who lives near Abingdon, Virginia, provides examples of positive, grass-roots economic development in our region as does After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales (2018) by Tom Hansell.

-- George Brosi