May 01, 2007

SIU Press authors capture awards

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three authors with recent books published by the Southern Illinois University Press received awards from the Illinois State Historical Society Saturday, April 28, during the organization's annual meeting at Pere Marquette State Park.

Former Lindsay-Shaub newspaper editor Robert E. Hartley and Carbondale campus political scientist David Kenney, who together wrote "Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters," won a certificate for superior achievement, the top-level award, in the publications/scholarly books category. Chicago State University geographer and general Chicago maven Irving Cutler, author of "Chicago: Metropolis of the Mid-Continent" won a certificate for excellence in the publications/books category.

In writing "Death Underground," Hartley and Kenney analyzed causes of both accidents, which occurred five years and 40 miles apart, killing 230 men. They also interviewed survivors and reviewed investigative records, coming to new conclusions about where responsibility for the disasters lay. In addition, their book contains 29 illustrations and material on the history and culture of mining in both Illinois and the nation.

Cutler's book, a completely revised fourth edition of a work first published in 1982, reveals through an examination of geography, history, economics and culture how and why Chicago became the city it is. The book focuses on contemporary problems, among them racial tension, housing, employment and transportation as well. It contains some 300 drawings, photographs, maps and tables along with appendices detailing population growth, income data, climate and historic sites.

The SIU Press, which last year celebrated its golden anniversary, publishes works primarily from the humanities and social sciences with specialty niches in theater, film and regional history. Visit it on the Web at