Free Textbooks River of Earth –

River of Earth First published in , James Still's masterful novel has become a classic It is the story, seen through the eyes of a boy, of three years in the life of his family and their kin He sees his parents pulled between the meager farm with its sense of independence and the mining camp with its uncertain promise of material prosperity In his world privation, violence, and death are part of everyday life, accepted and endured Yet it is a world of dignity, love, and humor, of natural beauty which Still evokes in sharp, poetic images No writer has caught effectively the vividness of mountain speech or shown honestly the trials and joys of mountain life

10 thoughts on “River of Earth

  1. Diane Barnes Diane Barnes says:

    I got this book through my library after reading about it in Lee Smith's memoir, Dimestore. She grew up in the coal mining community of Grundy, VA, and loved this book for it's depiction of the people and their language. After reading it, so do I.

    A warning to anyone who needs a linea

  2. Howard Howard says:


    This is the back story to James Still’s River of Earth (published in 1940):

    Harry Caudill wrote in Night Comes to the Cumberlands, his history of the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Kentucky, that southern Appalachia had been an independent and relatively self-suffici

  3. Sara Sara says:

    The first thing you notice about this story of the depression era in the mining towns of Eastern Kentucky is the beauty of the writing itself and the genuine flavor of the dialog. James Still captures the stark, almost hopeless, situation of the families, while simultaneously showing the strength

  4. Camie Camie says:

    Written the same year as The Grapes Of Wrath ( 1940) and easily drawing comparisons, this is a lyrical slice of life story simply told by a young boy whose parents earnestly struggle to make ends meet while farming and coal mining in the Appalachians.
    Harkening back to a time when a full dinn

  5. Lawyer Lawyer says:

    Full review to follow.

  6. Alandra Alandra says:

    In James Still’s 1940 novel River of Earth, which takes place in Kentucky, we are offered not only a fascinating coming-of-age story with a striking setting, but references and historical first-hand knowledge of how life played out in the mountains and coal-camps of the region.

    The main

  7. Judy Judy says:

    The mines on Little Carr closed in March. Winter had been mild, the snows scant and frost-thin upon the ground. Robins stayed the season through, and sapsuckers came early to drill the black birch beside our house. Though Father had worked in the mines, we did not live in the camps.

    Thus st

  8. Marian Marian says:

    A beautiful, beautiful book. Written in 1940, it's a gem of Appalachian literature. Reminds me a lot of The Grapes of Wrath. In the 1920s, Appalachian farmers who were completely self-sufficient became enamoured of the quick and plentiful wages of coal miners. This was all well and good until the deman

  9. Sharla Sharla says:

    I read this book several years ago. As I remember it, the plot is weak but it is a book of great lyric beauty. I do not think it would appeal to everyone but those who love Appalachia will appreciate it.

  10. Carol Isler Carol Isler says:

    I'd like to see the English teachers of Upstate, SC put this one in the curriculum. This story, set in the coal mining region of eastern Kentucky during the depression, is more relevant to our area in that time period (i.e. a life shuffle between the cotton mill villages and the farms) than The Grapes of

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