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Rusted Rails a book

1 rating: 5.0
An Historical novel by Barry Jones

"Rusted Rails" based in 1928, resurrects the now abandoned coal-mining town of Wilder, Tennessee. Life in these towns held little promise for the future. One family, that of David and Jenny Hughes, sought to keep their son out of the mines. … see full wiki

1 review about Rusted Rails a book

Excellent Period Piece!

  • Feb 8, 2014
This review is based on a reviewer copy received from the author but reflects my own personal opinion.

Edward Hawkins is a reporter working for the Tennessean newspaper in 1928. He arrives in a mining Tennessee town to write a series of articles about the miners and the company.The author presents us immediately with the dangerous conditions of the mines as an accident occurs right away. Right off the back I was thinking that this would be a tale similar to Emile Zola's "Germinal," but the story takes a totally different direction.

When Hawkins rides a train, he gets to his destination and a woman (Mrs. Hughes) is desperate because her daughter Jenny is not on the train. Hawkins tells her about a woman meeting Jenny's description having fainted and being attended to before she had boarded the train. He promises Mrs. Hughes that he will investigate Jenny's disappearance as soon as possible.

While he is writing his articles on the mines, he learns that Jenny was recently widowed and was hoping to prevent her youngest son from having a life in the mines. He was an excellent student and between Jenny and his older siblings, there was almost enough income to be able to keep him in school and possibly make it to college. However, Jenny learned that she would be expecting another child and the added expense of that child would surely doom her son to working in the mines to support the family.

The more Hawkins investigates, we find that dangerous people are involved with Jenny's disappearance and Hawkins could be putting himself into danger. There are several tense moments in the story and the author does an excellent job of letting his tale unfold with a lot of historical figures involved as well as the early FBI. The author gives a lot of historical facts as well as maps to keep the reader well informed as to what is taking place. There is even an epilogue chapter with several photos and discussion of what happened to the mines after 1928.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and find it an excellent period piece (like the series Boardwalk Empire). I highly recommend this book!

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February 08
Mining is a dangerous occupation even for the most experienced people.
February 10
The book focuses on coal mining. I wonder if black lung and other hazzards that were prevelent back then have been remediated down to a reasonable level?
February 10
See what the American Lung Association had to say: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/pneumoconio...ing-pneumoconiosis.html
February 12
Wonder how they can get people to work in those mines.
February 13
Either money or some people may not have much of a choice. Nonetheless, there should be regulation to protect the workers to the extent possible given the ever-improving state of technology. Today, there are better tools than ever before.
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