Book ID: CBB001552160

Diamonds in the Rough: A History of Alabama's Cahaba Coal Field (2013)


Day, James Sanders (Author)

The University of Alabama Press

Publication Date: 2013
Physical Details: xiii + 209 pp.; ill.
Language: English

Diamonds in the Rough reconstructs the historical moment that defined the Cahaba Coal Field, a mineral-rich area that stretches across sixty-seven miles and four counties of central Alabama. Combining existing written sources with oral accounts and personal recollections, James Sanders Day's Diamonds in the Rough describes the numerous coal operations in this region---later overshadowed by the rise of the Birmingham district and the larger Warrior Field to the north. Many of the capitalists are the same: Truman H. Aldrich, Henry F. DeBardeleben, and James W. Sloss, among others; however, the plethora of small independent enterprises, properties of the coal itself, and technological considerations distinguish the Cahaba from other Alabama coal fields. Relatively short-lived, the Cahaba coal-mining operation spanned from discovery in the 1840s through development, boom, and finally bust in the mid-1950s. Day considers the chronological discovery, mapping, mining, and marketing of the field's coal as well as the issues of convict leasing, town development, welfare capitalism, and unionism, weaving it all into a rich tapestry. At the heart of the story are the diverse people who lived and worked in the district---whether operator or miner, management or labor, union or nonunion, white or black, immigrant or native---who left a legacy for posterity now captured in Diamonds in the Rough. Largely obscured today by pine trees and kudzu, the mining districts of the Cahaba Coal Field forever influenced the lives of countless individuals and families, and ultimately contributed to the whole fabric of the state of Alabama.

Reviewed By

Review Henry M. McKiven Jr. (2015) Review of "Diamonds in the Rough: A History of Alabama's Cahaba Coal Field". Journal of American History (pp. 258-258). unapi

Review Davis, Colin J. (2015) Review of "Diamonds in the Rough: A History of Alabama's Cahaba Coal Field". American Historical Review (p. 252). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Wu, Shellen Xiao
Bufton, Mark W.
Dorr, Gregory Michael
Grönberg, Per-Olof
Gutman, David
Jones, Alan Victor
American Historical Review
British Journal for the History of Science
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Journal of the Guilded Age and Progressive Era
University of Alabama Press
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
Princeton University
Boydell Press
Irish Academic Press
State University of New York Press
Coal and coal mining
Technology and industry
Energy resources and technologies
Richthofen, Ferdinand von
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
Qing dynasty (China, 1644-1912)
Progressive Era (1890s-1920s)
United States
Alabama (U.S.)
Great Britain
Virginia (U.S.)
Tuskegee Institute
Medical Research Council (Great Britain)

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