West Virginia University Press is the only university press, and the largest publisher of any kind, in the state of West Virginia. A part of West Virginia University, they publish books and scholarly journals by authors around the world, with a particular emphasis on Appalachian studies, history, higher education, the social sciences, and interdisciplinary books about energy, environment, and resources. They also publish works of fiction and creative nonfiction, and collaborate on innovative digital publications, notably West Virginia History: An Open Access Reader.
An Overview of Attitude Research
Master of Mysteries
First published in 1918, Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries is an anthology of detective stories written by Melville Davisson Post. The popular stories within this collection were serialized in national magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post in the early 20th century.
Uncle Abner is an amateur detective in present-day Harrison County, West Virginia. Throughout his journeys around this antebellum wilderness, long before the nation had a proper police system, the honest Uncle Abner is confronted by murders and mysteries that cannot be ignored. With uncanny intuition, impressive logic, and keen observation of human actions, Uncle Abner is Melville Davisson Post’s most celebrated literary creation and is considered to be one of the most important texts in American detective and crime fiction.
This new edition contains an introduction by Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire novels.
Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State
California Dreaming: Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State analyzes the growth, promotion, and agricultural colonization that fed this dream during the early 1900s. Through this analysis, Paul J. P. Sandul introduces a newly identified rural-suburban type: the agriburb, a rural suburb deliberately planned, developed, and promoted for profit. Sandul reconceptualizes California’s growth during this time period, establishing the agriburb as a suburban phenomenon that occurred long before the booms of the 1920s and 1950s.
Sandul’s analysis contributes to a new suburban history that includes diverse constituencies and geographies and focuses on the production and construction of place and memory. Boosters purposefully “harvested” suburbs with an eye toward direct profit and metropolitan growth. State boosters boasted of unsurpassable idyllic communities while local boosters bragged of communities that represented the best of the best, both using narratives of place, class, race, lifestyle, and profit to avow images of the rural and suburban ideal.
This suburban dream attracted people who desired a family home, nature, health, culture, refinement, and rural virtue. In the agriburb, a family could live on a small home grove while enjoying the perks of a progressive city. A home located within the landscape of natural California with access to urban amenities provided a good place to live and a way to gain revenue through farming.
To uncover and dissect the agriburb, Sandul focuses on local histories from California’s Central Valley and the Inland Empire of Southern California, including Ontario near Los Angeles and Orangevale and Fair Oaks outside Sacramento. His analysis closely operates between the intersections of history, anthropology, geography, sociology, and the rural and urban, while examining a metanarrative that exposes much about the nature and lasting influence of cultural memory and public history upon agriburban communities.
Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858-1932) was an African American writer, essayist, Civil Rights activist, legal-stenography businessman, and lawyer whose novels and short stories explore race, racism, and the problematic contours of African Americans’ social and cultural identities in post-Civil War South. He was the first African American to be published by a major American publishing house and served as a beacon-point for future African American writers.
The Colonel’s Dream, written in 1905, is a compelling tale of the post-Civil War South’s degeneration into a region awash with virulent racist practices against African Americans: segregation, lynchings, disenfranchisement, convict-labor exploitation, and endemic violent repression. The events in this novel are powerfully depicted from the point of view of a philanthropic but unreliable southern white colonel. Upon his return to the South, the colonel learns to abhor this southern world, as a tale of vicious racism unfolds. Throughout this narrative, Chesnutt confronts the deteriorating position of African Americans in an increasingly hostile South. Upon its publication The Colonel’s Dream was considered too controversial and unpalatable because of its bitter criticisms of southern white prejudice and northern indifference, and so this groundbreaking story failed to gain public attention and acclaim.
This is the first scholarly edition of The Colonel’s Dream. It includes an introduction and notes by R. J. Ellis and works to reestablish this great novel’s reputation.
Secrets and snakes, rock and gospel, guilt and grace.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the story of a father and son’s journey towards spiritual redemption. This novel tells the tale of a famous father trapped inside the suffocating world of rock and roll, and his son who is stranded within the bounds of conventional religion.
When Reverend Thomas Johnson receives an anonymous phone call, he learns his Dylanesque rock star father is acting deranged on stage, where he’s being worshipped by a cult of young people who slash their faces during performances. In his declining years, Israel Jones has begun to incite his fans to violence. They no longer want to watch the show—they want to be the show.
Eager to escape troubles with his congregation as well as gain an apology from his dad for abandoning his family, Reverend Johnson leaves town and joins Israel Jones’s Eternal Tour. This decision propels him to the center of a rock and roll hell, giving him one last chance to reconnect with his father, wife, congregation—and maybe even God.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the 2010 Hackney Literary Award winner for an unpublished manuscript.
Problems and Prospects for the 2010's
This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.
The chapters in this volume represent the expertise of an influential group of scholars in rural sociology and related social sciences. Its five sections address the changing structure of North American agriculture, natural resources and the environment, demographics, diversity, and quality of life in rural communities.
The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster
New paperback edition with an introduction by Robert B. Reich
Monongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster documents the events and conditions that led to the worst industrial accident in the history of the United States. This mining accident claimed hundreds of lives on the morning of December 6, 1907 and McAteer, an expert on mine and workplace health and safety, delves deeply into the economic forces and social-political landscape of the mining communities of north central West Virginia to expose the truth behind this tragedy. After nearly thirty years of exhaustive research, McAteer determines that close to 500 men and boys—many of them immigrants—lost their lives that day, leaving hundreds of women widowed and more than one thousand children orphaned.
The tragedy at Monongah led to a greater awareness of industrial working conditions, and ultimately to the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, which McAteer helped to enact. This new paperback edition includes an introduction by Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration.
Elleanor Eldridge, born of African and US indigenous descent in 1794, operated a lucrative domestic services business in nineteenth century Providence, Rhode Island. In defiance of her gender and racial background, she purchased land and built rental property from the wealth she gained as a business owner. In the 1830s, Eldridge was defrauded of her property by a white lender. In a series of common court cases as alternately defendant and plaintiff, she managed to recover it through the Rhode Island judicial system. In order to raise funds to carry out this litigation, her memoir, which includes statements from employers endorsing her respectable character, was published in 1838. Frances Harriet Whipple, an aspiring white writer in Rhode Island, narrated and co-authored Eldridge’s story, expressing a proto-feminist outrage at the male “extortioners” who caused Eldridge’s loss and distress.
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