Our site will be undergoing maintenance from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 20. During this time, Bookshop, checkout, and other features will be unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Cookies must be enabled to use this website.
Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Book details
  • SubGenre:Economic History
  • Language:English
  • Pages:224
  • eBook ISBN:9798350957983
  • Paperback ISBN:9798350957976

Hammer to Hypertext

The Economic Past, Present, and Future of Northern Appalachia

by Joseph E. Good

View author's profile page

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Northern Appalachia is the backbone of American prosperity. The hills and valleys of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia are the motherlands of heavy industry. Over the past 100 years, the region turned from rich factory floor to disused badlands. Its people have become poorer, less healthy, and less happy. The region is somber and stunned, but not hopeless. With the right approach, Northern Appalachia can lead a new era of American prosperity.

Northern Appalachia has a fascinating economic history. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Upstate New York, West Virginia, and Maryland were the early leaders of American cottage industry. The coal-rich hills and rushing rivers were a fertile birthplace for America's industrial revolution. Canals and railroads flourished. Many of America's great companies would call the region home: U.S. Steel, Standard Oil, Alcoa, and many more. The region powered America's war machine from colonial times, through the Civil War, and well into the 20th century.

In the 20th century, triumphant history turned tragic. After World War II, many countries copied the success of America's heavy industry. America's modern workers couldn't compete with global producers. Northern Appalachian companies died slowly but decisively, leaving many people without work. The negative effects still linger in Northern Appalachia's industrial cities and factory towns. People are poor, unhealthy, and unhappy.

To help, both America and Northern Appalachia need to get real. Everybody can move forward with wisdom and legitimacy. "Hammer to Hypertext" focuses on West Virginia's coal, Pennsylvania's natural gas, and New York's microchip manufacturing. More broadly: How can communities help themselves? And how can Northern Appalachian moxie help a dispirited America?

About the author
Joseph teaches writing and rhetoric at Penn State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Maryland and currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A lifelong resident of the Mid-Atlantic, Joseph is inspired by the people, history, and beauty of the land. He spent most of his life in central and eastern Pennsylvania and has lived in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Albany.