Coal Region Books

Coal Region Books (2)

“History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.”

Howard Zinn

In the spirit of Zinn, we offer a list of books about the Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Region. If you know of any that we missed, contact us or let us know in a comment.



From the Molly Maguires to the United Mine Workers: The Social Ecology of an Industrial Union, 1869-1897

By Harold Aurand

Population Change and Social Continuity: Ten Years in a Coal Town

By Harold Aurand

Coal Cracker Culture: Work and Values in Pennsylvania Anthracite, 1835-1935 (2003)

By Harold Aurand

Growing Up in Coal Country (1996)

By Susan C. Bartoletti 

A Coal Miner’s Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska (2000)

By Susan C. Bartoletti

The Anthracite Railroads: A Study in American Railroad Enterprise (1927)

By Jules I. Bogden

George M. Bretz: Photographer in the Mines (1997)

By Tom Beck 

The Molly Maguires (1970)

By Anthony Bimba

Democratic Miners: Work and Labor Relations in the Anthracite Coal Industry, 1875-1925 (1994)

By Perry K. Blatz 

The Molly Maguires (1970)

By Anthony Bimba 

Anthracite People: Families, Unions and Work, 1900-1940 (1983)

By John Bodnar

Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region (1993)

By Karen Blomain

The Molly Maguires (1964)

By Wayne B. Broehl Jr. 

Anthracite Lads: A True Story of the Fabled Molly Maguires. Erie County Historical Society (2005)

By William H. Burke 

A Molly Maguire Story (1992)

By Patrick Campbell 

A Trooper’s Narrative of Service in the Anthracite Coal Strike, 1902 (1903)

By Stewart Culin 

Stories from the Mines (2002)

By Thomas M. Currȧ and Gregory Matkosky

Mine Seed (2002)

By Lucia Dailey 

The Anthracite Aristocracy: Leadership and Social Change in the Hard Coal Regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1800-1930 (1985)

By Edward J. Davies

Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire (1986)

By David DeKok 

The Coal Cracker (1997)

By John Denvers

Anthracite Ghosts (1995)

By Walter L. Dinteman

Our Time (2002)

By Gerald N. Dougherty 

When the Mines Closed: Stories of Struggles in Hard Times (1998)

By Thomas Dublin 

The Face of Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region in the Twentieth Century (2005)

By Thomas Dublin and Walter Licht

Urban Capitalists: Entrepreneurs and City Growth in Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna and Lehigh Regions, 1800-1920 (2001)

By Burton W. Fulsom

Monopoly and Region: The Anthracite Coal Industry and its Impact on the Economic Development of the Wyoming Region of Pennsylvania (1991)

By Russell G. Frantz

Around Hazleton (2005)

By Richard W. Funk 

A Tribute to O’Hara and Other Stories (2000)

By Christine Goldbeck

Two Weeks Under: The Sheppton Mine Disaster / Miracle (2003)

By James A. Goodman

The Courtship of Joanna (1988)

By Catherine Gourley

The Slavic Community on Strike: Immigrant Labor in Pennsylvania Anthracite (1968)

By Victor R. Greene

Panther Valley Tales (1997)

By James Haldeman

The Coal Miners of Panther Valley (1998)

By George Harvan

The Luzerne County Railroad (2010)

By Larry Hohol 

The Kelayres Massacre: Politics and Murder in Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Coal Country (2014)

By Stephanie Hoover

Anthracite Reds: A Documentary History of Communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania during the 1920s (2004)

By Walter T. Howard (ed.)

Anthracite Reds Vol. 2: A Documentary History of Communists in Northeastern Pennsylvania during the Great Depression (2004)

By Walter T. Howard (ed.)

Forgotten Radicals: Communists in the Pennsylvania Anthracite (2005)

By Walter T. Howard 

Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, PA (1986)

By Renée Jacobs 

The Anthracite Coal Combination in the United States with Some Account of the Early Development of the Anthracite Industry (1914)

By Eliot Jones 

Dapper Dan Flood: The Controversial Life of a Congressional Power Broker (2015)

By William C. Kashatus 

Anthracite’s Demise and the Post-Coal Economy of Northeastern Pennsylvania (2015)

By Thomas Keil and Jacqueline M. Keil 

On Strike!: Capital Cities and the Willies-Barre Newspaper Unions (1988)

By Thomas J. Keil 

Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (1998)

By Kevin Kenny 

Minstrels of the Mine Patch: Songs and Stories of the Anthracite Industry (1938)

By George Korson 

Black Rock: Mining Folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch (1960)

By George Korson 

The Real Disaster is Above Ground: A Mine Fire and Social Conflict (1990)

By Stephen J. Kroll-Smith and Stephen Robert Couch 

Watch the Hour (2009)

By J.R. Lindermuth

Digging Dusty Diamonds: A History of the Pennsylvania Coal Region (2013)

By John R. Lindermuth

Something do Divine (2015)

By J.R. Lindermuth

Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (2016)

By Jamie Longazel 

Coal Dust on Your Feet: The Rise, Decline, and Restoration of an Anthracite Mining Town (2013)

By Janet Macgaffey 

Civil War Draft Resistance and the Molly Maguires

Thomas E. McBride and Betty Lou McBride

The Fire Down Below: The Great Anthracite Strike of 1902 and the People Who Made the Decisions (2002)

By Jack McDonough 

Pennsylvania Mining Families: The Search for Dignity in the Coalfields (1993)

By Barry P. Michrina 

The Kingdom of Coal: Work, Enterprise, and Ethnic Communities in the Mine Fields (1985)

By Donald L. Miller and Richard E. Sharpless 

Anthracite! An Anthology of Pennsylvania Coal Region Plays (2006)

By Philip Mosley (ed.) 

The Pipes Are Calling: A Novel of Ireland and the Pennsylvania Coal Region (2006)

By Loretta A. Murphy

The Guns of Lattimer: The True Story of a Massacre and a Trial, August 1897-March 1989 (1978)

By Michael Novak 

Appointment in Samarra (1934)

By John O’Hara 

Gibbsville, PA: The Classic Stories (1992)

By John O’Hara 

Another Civil War: Labor, Capital, and the State in the Anthracite Regions of Pennsylvania 1840 – 1868 (1990)

By Grace Palladino 

Anthracite Country (1982)

By Jay Parini 

The Patch Boys (1986)

By Jay Parini 

Illustrating an Anthracite Era: The Photographic Legacy of John Horgan, Jr. (1995)

By Gwendoline E. Percival and Chester J. Kulesa 

Breaker: A Boy’s Story of the 1902 Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Miner’s Strike (1988)

By Norah A. Perez 

The Molly Maguires and the Detectives (1905)

By Allan Pinkerton 

Flames and Embers of Coal (1990)

By Ellis Wynne Roberts

Energy Transition and the Local Community: A Theory of Society Applied to Hazleton, Pennsylvania (1981)

By Dan Rose

Early Coal Mining in the Anthracite Region (2002)

By John Stuart Richards 

The Breaker Whistle Blows (1984)

By Ellis W. Roberts 

Anthracite Coal Communities (1904)

By Peter Roberts 

Portraits of the Hazleton Public Schools: Hazleton, Pennsylvania 1992-1994 (2006)

By Judith Joy Ross 

In the Kingdom of Coal: An American Family and the Rock that Changes the World (2003)

By Dan Rottenberg 

Pennsylvania’s Coal and Iron Police (2009)

By Spencer J. Sadler 

Hard Coal, Hard Times: Ethnicity and Labor in the Anthracite Region (1984)

By David L. Salay (ed.) 

Before the Molly Maguires: The Emergence of the Ethno-Religious Factor in the Politics of the Lower Anthracite Region (1976)

By William G. Shade 

Their Fathers’ Daughters: Silk Mill Workers in Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1880-1960 (1999)

By Bonnie Stepenoff 

Coal Cracker Blues (2003)

By James Stevens 

We Were Here Once: Successes, Mistakes, and Calamities in Hazleton Area History (2004)

By L.A. Tarone 

Molly Justice: A Story of Molly Maguires and Modocs in the Mahony Valley of Pennsylvania (2001)

By Steve Varonka 

St. Clair: A Nineteenth-Century Coal Town’s Experience with a Disaster-Prone Industry (1988)

By Anthony F.C. Wallace 

Medical Caregiving and Identity in Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Region, 1880-2000 (2011)

By Karol K. Weaver 

The Coal King’s Slaves: A Coal Miner’s Story (2002)

By William G. Williams 

The “Great Strike”: Perspectives on the 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike (2002)

By Kenneth C. Wolensky et al. 

Fighting for the Union Label: The Women’s Garment Industry and the ILGWU in Pennsylvania (2002)

By Kenneth C. Wolensky, Nicole H. Wolensky, and Robert P. Wolensky 

The Aftermath of the Great Agnes Disaster: An Analysis of Emergent Groups and Local Government Officials in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania (1975)

By Robert P. Wolensky 

Anthracite Labor Wars: Tenancy, Italians, and Organized Crime in the Northern Coalfield of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1895-1959 (2013)

By Robert P. Wolensky, and William A. Hastie 

The Knox Mine Disaster January 22, 1959: The Final Years of the Northern Anthracite Industry and the Effort to Rebuild a Regional Economy (1999)

By Robert P. Wolesky, Kenneth C. Wolensky, and Nicole H. Wolensky

Voices of the Knox Mine Disaster: Stories, Remembrances, and Reflections of the Anthracite Coal Industry’s Last Major Catastrophe, January 22, 1959 (2005)

By Robert P. Wolesky, Kenneth C. Wolensky, and Nicole H. Wolensky 

Enterprise and Anthracite: Economics and Democracy in Schuylkill County, 1820-1875 (1961)

By Clifton K. Yearly, Jr.


  1. Bob Stevens · ·

    A wealth of great reading. Some should be required in the HASD. It’s time our chikdren gained an appreciation of the history of our region.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loretta Murphy · ·

    The Pipes Are Calling by Loretta A. Murphy (2006)


    1. Added. Thanks!!


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