Memory of a Miner
One of Harlan County’s many coal camps from back in the day when coal was king.
Meet the Author
Dr. Michael Ruth is an author, counselor, and psychotherapist in East Tennessee, where he grew up. He and his wife, Susan, returned there some 30 years ago to raise their children and to make that area their home. They are thrilled to have their now-grown children and grandchildren close by.
The inspiration for Memory of a Miner took seed a full twenty years ago when Mike approached his aging dad with the idea of writing a book about his days as an old-school miner in Harlan County, Kentucky, during the time of the coal wars.
Mike, the last of four children, was born in Harlan County right about the time his dad’s mining days were coming to an end, so he doesn’t have any personal memory of those days himself.
However, because his dad had a captivating knack for telling stories, and his favorite pastime happened to be talking about his mining years, Dr. Ruth was well supplied with the material he needed to put this oral history to paper.
And thus the journey began.
Countless hours were shared with his dad and mother in conversation, recording story after story. The author then visited places of relevance, speaking with other survivors who also experienced that volatile time firsthand. Lastly, several more years of research would serve to fortify and build out the context of the story.
Memory of a Miner was written not only to honor his own dad but all miners who put their life on the line every day for their family, and to preserve a cherished slice of Harlan County history for his readers.