Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lost Mountain - Multiple Reviews

Lost Mountain - A Year In the Vanishing Wilderness, Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia by Erik Reece, forward by Wendell Berry has been beautifully reviewed by Bookwormers before me. Lake Loop's review inspired me to order the book from the library. And she inspired Donna at Chocolate Crayons who wrote her review here. Green Bean at Green Bean Dreams wrote her review here.

Lost Mountain should be on bestseller lists across the country. I loved it; but it's not sexy. At all. Animal Vegetable Miracle had turkey sex, Omnivore's Dilemma must have had corn sex. I can't remember. Lost Mountain has heart.

Erik Reece cares about the mountain and the people that are being devastated by mountain top removal. He rides in their trucks and sits at their dinner tables between his monthly hikes up the mountain to journal it's demise. He listens to their stories, gives them a voice. He tells their history and it's impossible to not embrace them. They are good people. Even when they are also working at the mines.

There are no easy answers anywhere. The laws are too lax to help and they're ignored anyway. If there's too much noise the regulating agencies broaden the restrictions. Legal becomes criminal. It's eye opening stuff.

My favorite parts were when the communities came together to protect or reclaim the land. An 80 year old coffin maker took up his 22 rifle to protect his stepson's land (his stepson was a Marine serving in Iraq at the time). He was jailed and his neighbors surrounded the property for him; 22's in hand until he was released.

They came together again to pray on the top of a removed mountain top. They held hands, planted seeds of wildflowers. A couple journalists attended although strip mining is one of the most under reported environmental concerns of our time.

And young and old alike came together for a piece of performance art to reenact a visit forty years prior by Robert Kennedy four months before he was shot. The problems that existed then continue today.

I wish I could say the book ended happily. The author tried but his conclusion chapter was unnecessary. Coal mining is a problem however you spin it. And so is corruption, greed and our addiction to cheap energy. We're grown ups. We can take it.

Since reading Lost Mountain I turn out the lights more, I'm investigating carbon offsets through our energy provider. And I talk about coal mining and the good book I read about it. I believe the more people know what's going on the better chance we may have to finding solutions.

Check it out.

Rated: 5 out of 5

Recommended for everyone who has ever turned on a light.

9 comments:

Bobbi said...

I loved this book as well. Great review!

JAM said...

Just requested it - thanks!

Melinda said...

Great review, Katrina. I'm going to put it on my library list.

Green Bean said...

I've read all your great reviews and have yet to add the book to my list. Mainly because I have too many books on my list. ;-) This cinches it though. Beautiful and powerful review. Sounds like the type of review a book such as this deserves.

Donna said...

You write such beautiful reviews! Thanks for going ahead and doing this one even though we'd already had two reviews. I think you inspired even more people to read the book, and if we're lucky, they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on.

BerryBird said...

I'm so glad you and Donna reviewed the book, too, Katrina! Every time I see this book mentioned my heart flutters a bit... you are exactly right that everyone who uses electricity should read the book. Your review did a great job of introducing the human element to this story, and that is so important. It is the voices of the people whose land and health is being destroyed that makes this book so powerful.

kale for sale said...

bobbi - Let me know if you wrote a review and I'll link it here.

jam - Oh, good. Let us know what you think when you're done. It's a fairly quick read.

melinda - You won't be sorry. But you may loose sleep because you'll want to be reading instead.

green bean - I started two books I've wanted to read for a long time before I picked this one up. The other two are still on the table and this one is going back to the library.

(Have I notched it up on the list a little further?)

donna - Thank you. I couldn't help but review it. It was too good.

berrybird - Flutter away. I was playing with changing the name of the blog to the Lost Mountain Reviews. Stories of the people always hook me in. They make whatever the issue is real and urgent. My heart starts twisting.

Thanks for introducing this book.

JAM said...

I've read it now. I found it interesting, and discouraging, to see what is being done, but I have to admit I wasn't captivated by the writing or really drawn in by the story. But I'm glad I know what is happening more than I did before.

kale for sale said...

jam - Thanks for your thoughts on the book. I so wanted you to love it but I'm still glad you read it and learned something new. Through the recent convention speeches my ears keep perking up when I hear, "clean coal technology" and I wonder if it's even possible. If it is, it certainly doesn't seem to be in use in Kentucky.