In the first two decades of the 20th century, coal miners and coal companies in West Virginia clashed in a series of brutal conflicts over labor conditions and unionization. Known collectively as the “Mine Wars,” the struggle included strikes, assassinations, marches, and the largest civil insurrection in the United States since the Civil War.
Coal was the engine of American industrial progress at the beginning of the 20th century. It powered locomotives, factories, and home furnaces, and it helped to purify the steel used in erecting skyscrapers all over the U.S. Nearly three quarters of a million menacross the country spent 10 to 12 hours a day in coal mines blasting, hand-picking, shoveling, and loading the indispensable rock onto railway cars bound for destinations across the country. Miners everywhere suffered deplorable working conditions, but between 1890 and 1912, miners in West Virginia suffered the highest death rate in America. Local business management was also not favorable to the miners; coal operators ran both the mines and the local towns, or camps, and often paid workers in company currency, forcing mining families to shop exclusively at the local company store, where operators set the price of everything to assure a profit.
Find The Mine Wars in our library catalog.
Following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed documentary Manufactured Landscapes, filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal teams up once again with artist Edward Burtynsky as he explores the simplest idea in the film Watermark. From Burtynsky’s website,
Watermark is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use.
Find Watermark in our library catalog.
Discover their previous film, the stunning Manufactured Landscapes in our library catalog.
Check out Burtynsky’s book of photographs, Manufactured Landscapes in our library’s collection.
The best thing about The East, which is a very tight, sophisticated Hollywood thriller is Brit Marling. Marling co-wrote the screenplay with director Zal Batmanglij, produced and stars in the film as lead character Jane who leaves her FBI job to work for an elite private intelligence firm. Jane’s new assignment is to bring down the eco-terrorist anarchist group, The East. Fantastic premise along with solid performances by all the actors including Marling, Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), Shiloh Fernandez, Ellen Page, and the delectable Patricia Clarkson as the amoral head of the firm.