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John Sayles

A trip through West Virginia's hidden history

A trip through West Virginia's hidden history

West Virginia may be known in popular song as "Almost Heaven," but it's a state that's seen more than its share of hell.

A vicious gunfight in the streets of a small town, two men assassinated on the courthouse steps in front of their wives, coal company stores designed as much to strip away miners' dignity as to provide life's essentials, the deadliest battle on American soil in the 20th century — they're all part of the story of the Mountaineer State.

It's a history that's been largely expunged from textbooks and purged from the memories of the state's citizens, but it came to life in June during the inaugural run of Doug Estepp's West Virginia Mine War...