About the Writing

About Black Days, Black Dust

Excerpt from BDBD

Bio Stuff



Lesson Plan Ideas
24 Chapters


Black Days, Black Dust is a memoir in the oral tradition. A close relative (you know who you are, Tim) said, "Even though you know that you're reading a book, you feel like you're sitting around an old coal stove, listening to Bob tell the story of his life."

While enjoying an easy-going, easy-to-read first-person memoir, you also get an education without travel, teachers, and tests. That's Coal Mining 101. Everything in the world you always wanted to know about coal is in this book. Well, almost. Like, what do you know about women in the mines?

Black Days, Black Dust does all this and more.

  • Uses scenes and dialog to draw you through humorous and dramatic stories of life in the camps and work in the mines.
  • Transports you deep inside the earth where you see the miners, hear the machines, and feel the danger.
  • Exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of coal mining, from hand loading and horse hauling to the modern longwall system.
  • Reveals that Jim Crow extended his tentacles into northern West Virginia.
  • Provides a unique glossary for those who have to ask, "What was that again?"

What you'll learn about my friend, Bob Armstead.

  • Despite layoffs and shutdowns, Bob focused on the work he wanted.
  • He believed coal mining was noble work and never lost faith in the industry, except for maybe that reason he retired.
  • Bob enjoyed mining so much that he dedicated his life to the industry, worked hard, rose to positions of authority, and succeeded.

I'm honored to have served as his ghostwriter.