This Month's Theme:
Fact or Fiction
Each of this month's novels features a strong historical component: the frontier in The Way West, slavery in Clotel, the Blair Mountain coal battle of 1921 in Storming Heaven, and colonial Africa in The Poisonwood Bible.
by Denise Giardina
Sunday, May 19 at 6:30/5:30 am CT on KET2 and 11:30/10:30 pm CT on KET2
At the time of its publication in 1987, Storming Heaven was welcomed by rave reviews from literary critics. Set in the coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia in the early 1900s, this beautifully written novel is based on the true story of the Battle of Blair Mountain.
In 1921, 10,000 unemployed coal miners marched to Blair Mountain, West Virginia, in support of unionization. For five days, they battled coal company hired guns, police, and even the U.S. Army. The protesters were attacked with airplanes, bombs, and poison gas; and hundreds of them were killed.
Giardina uses this historical event as the center point for a fictional story about four people: small-town mayor C.J. Marcum; union organizer Rondal Lloyd; Carrie Bishop, a nurse who falls in love with Rondal; and Sicilian immigrant Rosa Angelilli.
The author grew up in Black Wolf, West Virginia, one of poorest communities in the country. Her mother was from a large Eastern Kentucky family, and her father was an Italian immigrant who worked for a coal company. This intimate knowledge of Appalachia, its people, and its issues makes Storming Heaven memorable, inspiring, and authentic.