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One Saturday morning in February 1972, an impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company burst, sending a 130 million gallon, 25 foot tidal wave of water, sludge, and debris crashing into southern West Virginia's Buffalo Creek hollow. It was one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history. 125 people were killed instantly, more than 1,000 were injured, and over 4,000 were suddenly homeless. Instead of accepting the small settlements offered by the coal company's insurance offices, a few hundred of the survivors banded together to sue. This is the story of their triumph over incredible odds and corporate irresponsibility, as told by Gerald M. Stern, who as a young lawyer and took on the case and won.
An in-depth account of the February 1972 disaster in which a dam built by the Pittston Coal Company gave way, killing 125 people, injuring more than 1,100, and leaving more than four thousand homeless, focuses on the survivors' lawsuit against the company, which became a landmark case of a legal triumph over corporate responsibility. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.
The 1977 Sorokin Award–winning story of Buffalo Creek in the aftermath of a devastating flood. On February 26, 1972, 132-million gallons of debris-filled muddy water burst through a makeshift mining-company dam and roared through Buffalo Creek, a narrow mountain hollow in West Virginia. Following the flood, survivors from a previously tightly knit community were crowded into trailer homes with no concern for former neighborhoods. The result was a collective trauma that lasted longer than the individual traumas caused by the original disaster. Making extensive use of the words of the people themselves, Erikson details the conflicting tensions of mountain life in general—the tensions between individualism and dependency, self-assertion and resignation, self-centeredness and group orientation—and examines the loss of connection, disorientation, declining morality, rise in crime, rise in out-migration, etc., that resulted from the sudden loss of neighborhood.
Prolonged Psychosocial Effects of Disaster: A Study of Buffalo Creek disseminates the findings of an investigation into the psychosocial effects of a specific disaster - the collapse of a slag dam that inundated the valley of Buffalo Creek in West Virginia on February 26, 1972. Based on interviews with more than 600 men, women, and children for whom psychic impairment was claimed, this volume examines the relationships between the individual disaster experiences of the survivors and their later psychological functioning. Comprised of nine chapters, this volume begins with an overview of the psychosocial consequences of disasters and an account of the Buffalo Creek disaster itself, along with the subsequent lawsuit against the coal company. The next chapter explains how the psychopathology and stress of the survivors were scaled and gives some information regarding the reliability and validity of the data. Symptoms, sleep problems, family disruption, and traumatic dreams are considered. The findings on these data and the follow-up studies are discussed. The final chapter contains a summary of the findings and proposes specific suggestions as well as a model for future disaster studies. This book will be of most practical importance to mental health scientists and clinicians working with the victims of stress and disaster, and should also be of considerable interest to social and behavioral scientists and, more generally, to administrators of government activities.
From the night-black depths of a coalmine to the sun-struck peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, from a riveting murder mystery to a poignant meditation on the meaning of love and family, the latest novel in the critically acclaimed series strikes out for new territory: the sorrow and outrage that spring from a real-life chapter in West Virginia history. Royce Dillard doesn't remember much about the day his parents-and one hundred and twenty-three other souls-died in the 1972 Buffalo Creek disaster. He was only two years old when he was ripped from his mother's arms. But now Dillard, who lives off the grid with only a passel of dogs for company, is fighting for his life one more time: He's on trial for murder. Prosecutor Bell Elkins faces her toughest challenge yet in this haunting story of vengeance, greed and the fierce struggle for social justice. Richly imagined, vividly written and deeply felt, Julia Keller's Last Ragged Breath is set in West Virginia, but it really takes place in a land we all know: the country called home.