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The Dreiser Committee, including writers Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson, investigated the desperate situation of striking Kentucky miners in November 1931. When the Communist-led National Miners Union competed against the more conservative United Mine Workers of America for greater union membership, class resentment turned to warfare. Harlan Miners Speak, originally published in 1932, is an invaluable record that illustrates the living and working conditions of the miners during the 1930s. This edition of Harlan Miners Speak, with a new introduction by noted historian John C. Hennen, offers readers an in-depth look at a pivotal crisis in the complex history of this controversial form of energy production.

"Harlan Miners Speak is an important testament to the hardships endured by miners and their families during the turbulent and poverty-ridden era of the Great Depression. The words of those miners are loud and clear in this volume, and they are worth hearing again."—Modern Mountain Magazine

"This book provides a tangible link between the past and the present and illuminates an era of Kentucky history by presenting the voices of the people who lived it."—Paintsville Herald

"This volume is an excellent resource on the early Depression era. It shows how American working-class communities dealt with the economic and social crises at that time."—Multicultural Review

"This volume provides a touching, if sometimes distressing, personal voice to the Appalachian mining families who lived through the difficulties of a mine war, and conveys the atmosphere of an era in a manner rarely accomplished by traditional academic studies."—H-Net Reviews

"Harlan Miners Speak reminds us that we must look out for the interests of the vulnerable—today, environmentally affected communities—against the powerful coal and energy companies."—Ohio Valley History

"Readers are treated to a stirring account of the open class warfare that existed in the coal-mining regions of eastern Kentucky during the Great Depression. . . . the report reveals the tenacity of a group of southern workers whose battles for justice might otherwise have been forgotten to history."—Journal of Southern History

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Kentucky, Kentucky history, Harlan County, Coal miners, Labor unions, Coal mining


United States History


With a new introduction by John C. Hennen.

Harlan Miners Speak: Report on Terrorism in the Kentucky Coal Fields
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