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The Unquiet Earth.

Danny Duncan Collum, who lives in Alexandria, Va., NCR's television critic.

The Unquiet Earth, by Denise Giardina (Norton, $22.95, hardback) tells the story of life in a West Virginia coal camp from the 1930s to the present. It's only a middle-sized novel, but it has epic scope and ambition, and it delivers on both counts.

The Unquiet Earth has it all: romance action, natural diasasters, political intrigued radical politics. And under the boiling pot there is a deep undercurrent of solemn and even sacred mystery binding these hard-up people and their hard-hit land together across the generations.

Denise Giardina grew up in a West Virginia coal camp. These are her people, and she does right by them. Her vision of their suffering and exploitation is clear-eyed and unwavering. But so is her vision of their love for the mountains and their community, and their determination to defend both against the neocolonialists of the coal industry.

Over the 69 years of Giardina's story, issues and organizers come and go in the mountains. But the land and the people remain and the struggle continues. This year, with almost no media attention, coal miners are striking again in the mountains. Read The Unquiet Earth and understand why.
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Author:Collum, Danny Duncan
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 19, 1993
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