Today I talked to Chris Hamby about his book Soul Full of Coal Dust: The True Story of an Epic Battle for Justice (Little Brown, 2020). Hamby looks into why there has been a surge in black-lung disease in West Virginia and elsewhere in recent years. Poor self-policing and rapacious business practices go a long way in explaining the upsurge. Add in a tradition of fatalism caused by King Coal, and it becomes a minor miracle –but a miracle all the same—that some miners have been able to secure a measure of justice.
Chris Hamby is an investigative reporter for the New York Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism in 2014 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 2017.