The interest in this is largely vested in its value as a facet of the American scene, rather than as a piece of literature, though it has some merit as a human interest document. Jock Wilson went into the Indiana mines in 1911, at the age of 11, in order to help his father pay for a younger sister's operation, following a bout with meningitis. The two things he loved most were above ground:- school which he left in the 8th grade; hunting with his dogs. Thought of these- and memory- kept hope alive through the long years in ""the dark and damp"", where prehistoric methods of mining still applied, and where the miners got short shrift. Debs and Lewis had just begun their long battle. The hospital debt met, Jock was able to take advantage of occasional strikes and layoffs to continue his studies with a high school teacher, and eventually took an I.C.S. course in surveying. Some of his verse was accepted by Harriet Monroe, who printed it in Poetry and encouraged him to keep at his writing. This autobiography won him a major Avery Hopwood Award.