From the last major metropolitan newspaper reporter stationed in the Eastern Kentucky mountains, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work there, comes the story of how a convergence of events at the start of the new millennium continues to impact life in the region and the soul of the nation.
“Most people who live in Louisville have never been to Eastern Kentucky and have no idea what’s happening there. We would want you to cover the area like a foreign correspondent would.” That’s what Alan Maimon’s editor at the the Louisville Courier-Journal told him in a job interview in the early days of the 21st century.
When Maimon took the job and arrived in Hazard, Kentucky as the Journal’s regional bureau chief, he realized that he was reporting on a much bigger story than the county’s otherness. It was a region in the grip of ecological devastation, a man-made prescription pill epidemic, and where the aftermath of September 11th was taking an outsize toll. He witnessed first hand the enchroaching structural forces that would keep the region in poverty for decades to follow, even as many of those forces remain unacknowledged today.
Through the stories he covered then, and follows up on today, Maimon–now forever linked to the region having married into a coal mining family–offers a broader view of the region than we’ve had in recent portrayals. With the bureau he ran now shuttered, he offers a unique perspective in an age when media outlets have cut back or eliminated coverage of the most distressed regions of the country.
“Twilight in Hazard gives the great FX show, Justified, a run for its money, and then some. A riveting read.” —Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
”Twilight in Hazard chronicles the decades of taking that Appalachia has weathered, but it also chronicles the strength and resiliency of the human spirit of those who have been left behind. This book is harrowing, angering, and, most importantly, true.” —Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home
“In tight, compelling prose, Twilight in Hazard takes us directly to the heart of one of America’s most serious problems: the decline of local news. This book, with its indelible sense of place, may break your heart but it may also strengthen our collective resolve to find solutions to this crisis before it is entirely too late.” —Margaret Sullivan, Media Columnist, The Washington Post and author of Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy
“Alan Maimon is right to make ‘An Appalachian Reckoning’ the subtitle of this wise, compassionate book, where truly ”We gather in our memories and reckon up the cost.” —Si Kahn, civil rights, union, and community organizer, and cofounder of the Brookside Research Project, which supported striking UMWA coal miners in Harlan County, Kentucky
“Maimon writes with a journalist’s clarity and plainspokenness; he’s an outsider but never condescending, and he’s accepting that some of the truisms about [Eastern Kentucky] are indeed true…A somber consideration of a broken region that saves the scolding for its leaders instead of its residents.” —Kirkus Reviews