WHEN President Lyndon B. Johnson proposed his Appalachia Program––the war on poverty––his intent was to alleviate the plight of inhabitants of such stricken areas as encompassed in this fictional work. West Virginia and its once-rich hills lie in the very heart of Appalachia. Nature was bountiful in storing great fields of coal, oil and gas beneath the soil. West Virginians should have profited therefrom. Instead, the folk of these hills are among the most desperately poor in the nation. How that state of affairs came about is the subject of this timely, thought-provoking novel.
Rebecca Boggs, who knows the hill country intimately, tells us: “I gathered the material for this book little by little from tales and stories told to me by those who claimed they had been swindled, and by passing travelers during my thirty-four years as a fourth-class postmaster and operator of a small general store in the heart of the gas and oil fields of West Virginia.
“These accounts are about how people were tricked, bribed, swindled and scared by wealthy oil, gas and coal interests from within the state and from outside the state into forfeiting their land royalties for trifles.
“I hope the reader will better understand one of the reasons why our people of the West Virginia hills are classed among the underprivileged. I hope that I succeed in stimulating thought concerning the failing economy of our state.”
Many truths take on added impact when presented in fictional form. So it is that the author––with deft handling of plot, fast-paced dialogue and thorough knowledge of her subject––brings on stage a group of imaginary, but entirely believable, characters who fall victim to the machinations of large interests which they are powerless to fight and which they barely understand. How one courageous woman does confront and do battle with the greedy overlords makes this a work of both significance and inspiration.