Something’s Rising

Appalachians Against Mountaintop Removal

Editor’s Note: In this issue, we would like to introduce what we hope will become a regular feature in this publication, the Appalachian Voice Book Club. Every issue, we will select a book, provide you with a short review and questions to guide your reading and discussion, and point you to resources where you can learn more about the topics the book addresses. Throughout the course of this feature, we hope to cover all genres of literature and read authors from across the Appalachian region. We also hope this feature will encourage you to start your own book clubs that explore environmental issues and the literary treasures of the region. Enjoy!
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Authors Silas House and Jason Howard, both natives of Eastern Kentucky, describe themselves as “children of [the] war [against mountaintop removal] and children of Applachia.” Their past and their passions inform them as they explore a tragedy through its victims in their collaborative endeavor, Something’s Rising, an intensely personal and frequently moving series of narratives of fellow Appalachians. The book is part oral history, part ecological education with elements of both the literary and the scholarly.

Each chapter profiles an Appalachian engaged in the fight against mountaintop removal mining. House and Howard attempt to provide the most complete sense of each unique individual by giving the reader a sort of “character study” at the beginning of each chapter, an intricately assembled mix of personal history, snippets of interview and small details of personality. These sections allow the reader to have a fuller sense of the person before reading their unfiltered words, and to experience the tenderness and kinship the authors feel with each individual they have chosen to profile, whether they are famous musicians like Jean Ritchie or Kathy Mattea or old friends like Anne Shelby and Jessie Lynne Keltner, sisters who perform in a band, Public Outcry, with the two authors.
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Review by Sarah Vig

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