Author Talk with Jeff Barnes

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Age Group:

Adults , Families

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About the Author

JEFF BARNES was born and raised in Tazewell, Virginia, in the heart of Virginia’s coalfields. Mingo was inspired by his fascination with the Matewan Massacre and the years his father spent mining coal. Jeff graduated from the College of William and Mary, with undergraduate and law degrees. He lives and practices law in Richmond, Virginia.  This is his first novel.   

About the book

MINGO, A NOVEL
Set against the hulking backdrop of coal-rich, hardscrabble West Virginia and civilized, segregated Virginia, Mingo reveals the deep divide between the aspirations of modernization and might and the realities of hard work and sacrifice. The Matney brothers are tragically fated to divergent paths: fourteen-year-old Bascom to the
coal mines with his father and younger Durwood to the care of family in far-off Richmond. Resilient and resourceful, they both begin to extract from their experiences deeply held beliefs about the world and their place in it. Bascom is resolved to a life underground but dreams of relief and a reunion with his brother; Durwood thrives in a life cushioned by wealth but disciplined by the promise of returning to his true home as soon as things “settle down.” Instead, things rapidly unsettle in Mingo. When Mother Jones, “the most dangerous woman in America,” begins stirring up ideas of the collective good over the company store, the Matney brothers find themselves separated by far more than the Appalachian Mountains. They become embattled in the West Virginia Coal Wars and the largest armed uprising since the Civil War, setting coal miners and their families against the notorious Baldwin-Felts “detectives,” and pitting brother against brother. Deeply researched, beautifully written, and centered around the historic Battle of Blair Mountain in the late summer of 1921, Mingo reveals an American culture and cause through unforgettable characters that resonate today.

Books for purchase will be provided by  The Winchester Book Gallery