208 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Mar 2024

Hell’s Not Far Off

Bruce Crawford and the Appalachian Left

West Virginia University Press

Hell’s Not Far Off is a grounded, politically engaged study of the Appalachian journalist and political critic Bruce Crawford, a scourge of coal and railway interests. Crawford fought injustices wherever he saw them at major risk to his own life and became an early interpreter of Appalachian labor history.

His writings and actions from the 1920s to the 1960s helped shape southwest Virginia and West Virginia. Through Crawford’s Weekly, a newspaper active from 1920 to 1935, Crawford challenged the Ku Klux Klan, lynch mobs, and the private police forces of coal barons. The wounds received for these efforts were the closing of his paper and a bullet to his leg during a Harlan County strike in the 1930s. In his work after journalism, he led the West Virginia branch of the Federal Writers’ Project during the political standoff over the contents of the state’s official guidebook.

In Hell’s Not Far Off, Josh Howard resurrects strands of a radical tradition centered especially on matters of labor, environment, and race, drawing attention to that tradition’s ongoing salience: “Present-day Appalachia’s fights were [Crawford’s], and his fights are still ours.”

RELATED TOPICS: American History, History
Josh Howard is the cofounder of Passel Applied History Consulting, where he works as an applied historian. He lives in Virginia with his partner and cat and writes about Appalachia, legal history, sports, and the National Park Service.
Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.