This is the story of seven hundred Mingo County, West Virginia, citizens and their lead attorney, Kevin Thompson, who from 2004 until 2011 pursued a legal battle against Massey Energy, a leading West Virginia coal company, from a Williamson, West Virginia, hotel. They were waging a valiant effort to seek justice for those who suffered from the pollution of their water which resulted in terrible health issues. "A comprehensive account of the seven-year legal battle waged by residents of southern West Virginia against the state's largest coal company... details of Thompson's financial and marriage troubles make his battle to secure a $35 million settlement for his clients seem all the more heroic. Readers will be appalled at how hard these communities had to fight for a modicum of justice."—Publisher's Weekly. "In the early 20th century, Mingo County in southern West Virginia was the scene of several violent clashes between coal companies and local miners seeking better pay and living conditions... A century later, “Bloody Mingo’’ was the scene of another years-long clash between a coal company and local residents. This time, it was over clean water. Kris Maher... draws parallels between the two events in his superb new book."—Pittsburg Post-Gazette. "Maher's book documents one of the most important court cases against some of the country's most notorious polluters, revealing along the way the inherent pitfalls of single industry economies."—The Daily Yonder. "Kris Maher has written a deft, illuminating and often riveting account of a modern-day David and Goliath legal battle, expertly revealing the devastating consequences of regulatory disregard and corporate greed behind our energy policies. Timely as ever, Desperate gives us reasons to believe in the still small possibility of justice--and the unsung heroes fighting to defend our right to a glass of clean drinking water."—Jeff Biggers. The author of Desperate, Kris Maher, has been a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal since 2005.
New York: Scribner, 2021. 352 pages with an Index and Note on Sources. Hardback in dust jacket.