Book Review: Growing Up in Coal Country
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Non-fiction isn’t always my first choice to read, but Growing Up in Coal Country is a fascinating collection of personal accounts and historical facts. In the late 1800’s in Pennsylvania coal country, miners were needed and young boys were used often as cheap labor. The story details how young boys were given jobs above ground and as they became older they worked their way into the mines into progressively harder jobs to make more money for their struggling families. Whole towns revolved around mining and every family member was brought into the mining life in some way or another.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes U.S. history and is a fan of Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s other books about the holocaust and the KKK. I liked how this book focused on the impact on the young boys, but also addressed the adult’s trials and tribulations. I felt a very personal connection to this story because Susan quoted personal accounts from people who lived through this time period. It was a hard life and many boys and men died working in the mines. The most devastating parts of the recollections were not left out of this book, which proved very emotional. However, children were still children even though they had to grow up fast to support their families. The book successfully balanced the grim with the childish, describing how the boys would take part in childish activities. A very engaging historical perspective and educational read. ★★★★★
A very short audiobook, just 2 discs, but worth every word. Personally, I enjoy listening to non-fiction more then reading it. ☊ ★★★★★