(LOOTPRESS) – Award-winning author, W. Jeff Barnes’, debut novel “Mingo” was named the 2022 Readers Favorite International Book Contest Gold Medal Winner for Southern Fiction and has received dozens of five-star reviews. The thrilling page-turner is set against the backdrop of coal-rich, hard-scrabble West Virginia and “civilized,” segregated Virginia, highlights the lesser-known facts of the West Virginia coal war and the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest armed uprising in the U.S. since the Civil War and the largest labor uprising in American history.
“I’ve heard it said that if you want to learn history, read a history text. If you want to understand history, read historical fiction,” says Barnes, who was always fascinated by the Matewan Massacre and the years his father spent mining coal in West Virginia. “My goal in writing “Mingo” was to do just that: expose readers to an important piece of American history they likely know nothing about in a compelling and entertaining way.”
Mr. Barnes will discuss his book “Mingo” on the Blue Ridge PBS show “Write Around The Corner” on May 9th at 7:30 pm. “Write Around The Corner” features authors who are from Virginia or write about Virginia. W. Jeff Barnes grew up in Tazewell, Virginia, and currently resides in Richmond.
Praises for ‘Mingo’
“Mingo” is like the mining of coal itself, explosive and powerful, darkness emerging into the light. Barnes has found a rich seam.”
David L. Robbins, the New York Times bestselling author of War of the Rats and Isaac’s Beacon
“An unforgettable coming-of-age story that sets brother against brother in the 20th-century coal wars. Jeff Barnes is a natural storyteller.
Kelly Corrigan, the New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue
About the Book:
Mingo is the story of the young Matney brothers who are tragically fated to divergent paths: fourteen-year-old Bascom to the coal mines with his father, and younger Durwood to the care of distant family in far-off Richmond. Bascom is resolved to life underground as a coal miner, but dreams of escape and a reunion with his brother; Durwood thrives in a life cushioned by wealth in Richmond but is disciplined by the promise of returning home as soon as things “settle down.” Shaped by different circumstances and the passage of time, the brothers reunite only to find themselves on opposite sides of the bloody conflict, one pitting coal miners and their families against the notorious Baldwin-Felts armed thugs, and tragically, brother against brother.
Thoughtfully researched, beautifully written, and culminating in the historic Battle of Blair Mountain in the summer of 1921, Mingo delivers unforgettable characters while exploring themes of class struggle and racial division that continue to roil America.