The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—"Meltdown:
Three Mile Island" and "The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek"

Jun 6, 2022

Film: Meltdown: Three Mile Island, 2022, four part miniseries, a historical documentary available for streaming or download on Netflix.

The documentary Meltdown: Three Mile Island recounts the events surrounding the partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor in 1979 and the subsequent attempts to clean up the radioactive site. Numerous people involved in the events are interviewed: community activists, mothers, engineers, technicians, and company management. The interviews are interspersed with archival footage of that era and re-enactments of the tense drama unfolding.

The film reveals the full extent of the behind-the-scenes battle between the community demanding answers and accountability, the workers demanding safety, whistleblowers who risked all, and the company lying and covering up the mess, endangering the entire eastern United States, all in the name of profit.

Book: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michael Richardson, 2019. A follow-up book is now also available, Book Woman’s Daughter, May 2022.

This book is a fictionalized account of a “book woman,” a packsaddle librarian who would ride hundreds of miles of mountainous routes on a horse, donkey or mule in Appalachia in all weather delivering books to isolated homes, schools or communities between 1935 and 1943. The “book woman” brought recipes, sewing patterns, folk medicines, news, inventions, humor, and even put together picture books for children.

Bookwomen would follow long, mountainous routes, riding hundreds of miles each week in difficult weather and trail conditions, in dozens of rural counties where there were no libraries at all. Approximately 30 pack horse libraries served between 100,000 and 600,000 people, known as “patrons,” in the mountain areas.

This WPA project had a proven impact on uplifting people’s hard lives. This book is a testament to the positive impact of sharing knowledge and how it can lead to a better life for all.