a.”-Bentley-said-he-would-like-readers-to-learn-more-about-miners-and-get-beyond-the-two-mining-stereotypes-he-sees-most-often.-First-there’s-the-“Evil-King-Coal”-story.-In-this-frame-coal-strips-“the-land-and-people-of-everything-they-love”-leaving-only-destruction-and-poverty-in-its-wake-Bentley-says.-Then-there’s-the-romantic-view-of-the-miner-–-most-easily-conjured-while-looking-at-Depression-era-black-and-white-photos-of-men-posing-with-pick-and-shovel-in-hand.-“These-men-and-women-are-straight-laced-hard-working-God-fearing-Appalachian-people-who-work-so-hard-for-so-little”-Bentley-says.-Each-of-these-stories-has-an-element-of-truth-in-it-he-says.-And-each-has-it-wrong.-Coal-does-exact-an-environmental-cost-Bentley-says.-But-it-also-provided-a-living-for-people-many-of-whom-were-glad-to-exchange-labor-for-money-and-a-more-stable-economic-future.-And-the-romantic-notion-of-the-poor-but-noble-miner-risking-his-life-for-little-in-return-ignores-the-fact-that-mining-pays-pretty-well-–-or-at-least-historically-it-has.-You-can-find-statistics-on-the-“average”-coal-miner-mid-40s-high-school-graduate-male-16-years’-experience-according-to-one-report.-But-miners-themselves-are-hard-to-categorize-Bentley-says.-“There-would-be-a-large-mix-of-people.-There-were-drug-addicts-preachers-atheists-young-liberals.-All-lived-very-different-lifestyles.”-And-all-shared-the-experience-of-doing-hard-dangerous-work-miles-underground

ley would like to shine a little light on underground coal mining. The Eastern Kentucky native worked underground from 2001 to 2013. He’s now in a different line of work in Central Kentucky. Bentley Mug Author Gary Bentley.

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