One thing that’s aways bothered me over the years has been the lack of books written by miners. One notable exception is the making of a Hardrock Miner by Stephen Voynick but by in large there’s practically nothing.
Most books about mining are just that; about mining. No stories, no anecdotes, no character studies, no description of what life is like underground. The fact is, it’s an interesting life. A little dangerous at times but interesting.
My own book, Underground and Radioactive, is heavy on anecdotes and characters and pretty light on technical mining information. There’s a certain mining vernacular that has to be explained a little but otherwise nobody is going to learn how to mine anything by reading my book.
A couple of years ago I took a trip to the Mining Hall of Fame in Leadville, Colorado. I was expecting to see a whole wall of incredible miners and explanations of their amazing careers. Nope. There was a wall alright but almost everyone was wearing a suit. Lots of mining executives and incredibly few miners. I have to say though that there was some abstract imagery that pays homage to the people that do the physical work of mining.
I thought about that for a while until I realized that the people actually doing the work, the hard labor, do so in virtual anonymity. They work, more or less, alone and in the dark and other than a few co-workers who’d ever know how good they are at their jobs? So, there is no hall of fame for those workers because nobody has a clue who they are. I try to shed a little light on who they are in my own book.
I found the people underground to be fascinating and just as importantly, rather amusing characters. Not that they were trying to be funny but the stuff that happened underground was fairly hilarious. Hopefully, I did a decent job of explaining that in my book through anecdotes.
So, if you want a technical book about mining my book isn’t for you. If you like character studies and humor then maybe it is.