A searing, on-the-ground examination of the coal industry—and the workers left behind—in the midst of an environmental crisis, addiction, and rising white nationalism.
The past few years have highlighted the paradox at the heart of coal country. Despite fueling a century of American progress, its people are being left behind, suffering from unemployment, addiction, and environmental crises often at greater rates than anywhere else in the country. But what if Appalachia’s troubles are just a taste of what the future holds for all of us?
Appalachian Fall tells the captivating true story of coal communities on the leading edge of change. A group of local reporters known as the Ohio Valley ReSource shares the real-world impact these changes have had on what was once the heart and soul of America. Including stories about the miners striking in Harlan County after their company suddenly went bankrupt, bouncing their paychecks; the farmers tilling former mining ground for new cash crops like hemp and maple syrup; the activists working to fight mountaintop removal and bring clean energy jobs to the region; and the mothers mourning the loss of their children to overdose and despair.
In the wake of the controversial bestseller Hillbilly Elegy, Appalachian Fall addresses what our country owes to a region that provided fuel for a century and what it risks if it stands by watching as the region, and its people, collapse.
Jeff Young is the managing editor of Ohio Valley ReSource, a regional journalism collaborative reporting on economic and social change in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. The ReSource includes seven public media outlets across the three states, and aims to strengthen news coverage of the area’s most important issues. Jeff previously worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and was a Washington correspondent for the Public Radio International program “Living on Earth.” Jeff grew up near Huntington, West Virginia, and studied journalism and biology at Marshall University and the University of Charleston. His reporting has been recognized with numerous awards, and he was named a 2012 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in Louisville with his wife, Helen, and their daughters, Hazel and Louisa.