G.E.M. of Egypt A Novel of Ohio
By: MJ Pramik
G.E.M. of Egypt is a novel about a Polish family caught up in the first wave of Eastern European immigrants to America in the late 1800s. Spanning four generations of the Golek family, the story relates the tragedies and hardships they face daily from crossing the inhospitable Atlantic to deadly work in the coalfields of the eastern United States. In New York and Chicago, and in quiet hamlets of Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley coal country, the Goleks endure and overcome the searing changes among the stripped-mined land of Eastern Ohio. Their belief in equal justice, family loyalty, and education for all birthed movements such as the United Mine Workers Union and worker rights. This immigration also brought people who loved the earth, who believed in stewardship, creating a path to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Anna Golek, third generation offspring and first to receive a college degree, champions this cause. In conflict with her father, Alek, she comes to understand how he continued working in a coal mine each day, how he could profess a loyalty to the G.E.M. of Egypt, a massive earth-moving shovel that carved up and destroyed eastern Ohio. G.E.M. of Egypt also tells of the promise of earth’s renewal when working in community.
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