Individual Author Record
Name: Jeff BiggersPen Name: None Genre: Non-Fiction Poetry Born: 1963 in Ohio Sites:
Illinois ConnectionJeff was raised in Illinois and he currently divides his time between Illinois and Italy.
Biographical and Professional InformationJeff Biggers is a writer, editor, journalist, and critic. He has worked as a writer, educator and community organizer across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on NPR, PRI, and in travel, literary and music magazines, and national and foreign newspapers. Biggers is also a frequent blogger on Huffington Post, Alternet and Common Dreams. A contributing editor to The Bloomsbury Review, his work has appeared in scores of American and foreign newspapers, magazines and numerous anthologies, including Coal Country and We All Live Downstream. He has been a commentator on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and for Pacific News Service national syndication.
- No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems, University of Illinois Press, 2004
- In the Sierra Madres: A Travel Memoir , University of Illinois Press, 2007
- The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightment to America, Shoemaker and Hoard, 2007
- Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, Nation Books, 2010 reprinted by Southern Illinois University Press, 2014
- State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream, Nation Books, 2012
Titles At Your Library
No Lonesome Road: SELECTED PROSE AND POEMS
ISBN: 0252071573 University of Illinois Press. 2004 Rediscovery of one of Appalachia's most important and pioneering literary voices and social justice activists This is the first book to celebrate the life and writing of one of the most charismatic Southern leaders of the middle twentieth century, Don West (1906-1992). West was a poet, a pioneer advocate for civil rights, a preacher, a historian, a labor organizer, a folk-music revivalist, an essayist, and an organic farmer. He is perhaps best known as an educator, primarily as cofounder of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and founder of the Appalachian South Folklife Center in West Virginia. Road allows Don West to speak for himself. It provides the most comprehensive collection of his poetry ever published, spanning five decades of his literary career. It also includes the first comprehensive and annotated collection of West's nonfiction essays, articles, letters, speeches, and stories, covering his role at the forefront of Southern and Appalachian history, and as a pioneer researcher and writer on the South's little-known legacy of radical activism. Drawing from both primary and secondary sources, including previously unknown documents, correspondence, interviews, FBI files, and newspaper clippings, the introduction by Jeff Biggers stands as the most thorough, insightful biographical sketch of Don West yet published in any form. contributions of West and also serves as a thoughtful reflection on the interactions between the radicals of the 1930s and the 1960s. The best possible introduction to his extraordinary life and work, this annotated selection of Don West's writings will be inspirational reading for anyone interested in Southern history, poetry, religion, or activism.
In the Sierra Madre
ISBN: 0252074998 University of Illinois Press. 2007 A history of legendary Copper Canyon treasure seekers and enigmatic natives. This book offers a look into the ways of the resilient indigenous culture in the Americas, the exploits of Mexican mountaineers, and the parade of argonauts and accidental travelers who have journeyed into the Sierra Madre over centuries.
The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America
ISBN: 1593761511 Counterpoint. 2007
Few places in the United States confound and fascinate Americans like Appalachia, yet no other area has been so markedly mischaracterized by the mass media. Stereotypes of hillbillies and rednecks repeatedly appear in representations of the region, but few, if any, of its many heroes, visionaries, or innovators are ever referenced.
Make no mistake, they are legion: from Anne Royall, America's first female muckraker, to Sequoyah, a Cherokee mountaineer who invented the first syllabary in modern times, and international divas Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, as well as writers Cormac McCarthy, Edward Abbey, and Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck, Appalachia has contributed mightily to American culture — and politics. Not only did eastern Tennessee boast the country's first antislavery newspaper, Appalachians also established the first District of Washington as a bold counterpoint to British rule. With humor, intelligence, and clarity, Jeff Biggers reminds us how Appalachians have defined and shaped the United States we know today.
Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland (Shawnee Books)
ISBN: 0809333864 Southern Illinois University Press. 2014
Set in the ruins of his family’s strip-mined homestead in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, award-winning journalist and historian Jeff Biggers delivers a deeply personal portrait of the overlooked human and environmental costs of our nation’s dirty energy policy. Beginning with the policies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, chronicling the removal of Native Americans and the hidden story of legally sanctioned black slavery in the land of Lincoln, Reckoning at Eagle Creek vividly describes the mining wars for union recognition and workplace safety, and the devastating consequences of industrial strip-mining. At the heart of our national debate over climate change and the crucial transition toward clean energy, Biggers exposes the fallacy of “clean coal” and shatters the marketing myth that southern Illinois represents the “Saudi Arabia of coal.”
Reckoning at Eagle Creek is ultimately an exposé of “historicide,” one that traces coal’s harrowing legacy through the great American family saga of sacrifice and resiliency and the extraordinary process of recovering our nation’s memory.
State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream
ISBN: 1568587023 Nation Books. 2012
State Out of the Union is award-winning journalist and historian Jeff Biggers’ riveting account of Arizona, the famed frontier state whose conflict over immigration and state’s rights has become a national bellwether. Biggers shows how Arizona’s long history of labor and civil rights battles, its contentious entry into the union, as well as cyclical upheavals over immigration rights, place the state front and center in a greater American story playing out across the United States. From President Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback to the legacy of Arizona native son César Chávez to the powerful influence of the state’s politicians, like Sen. Barry Goldwater and Tea Party President Russell Pearce, Biggers reveals how Arizona has played a pivotal role in determining the nation’s conservative and liberal agendas.
Today, more than 25 state legislatures have introduced anti-immigration bills that are virtual copies of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 “papers please” law. The state is ground zero in the clash over a historic demographic shift taking place across the country with the rise of a newly empowered Latino electorate. But Arizona is not only home to some of the most virulent anti-immigration legislation in the country—it is also the birthplace of a new movement of young Latino activists and allies who have not only challenged the self-proclaimed architect of SB 1070 in a historic recall election, but are also mobilizing to defend the state’s education system from censorship.
A lasting and important work of cultural history, State Out of the Union vividly unveils the showdown over the American Dream in Arizona—and its impact on the future of the nation.