About John Hoerr
Monongahela Dusk
Labor and Political Histories
We Can't Eat Prestige
A Sampling of Other Reviews
Contact John Hoerr


The Pittsburgh Novel
This is an online version of a new, annotated list of all novels set in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and published since 1792. Most of the writers, it turns out, were born in, or at least lived in, the 26-county region. The idea of assembling such a bibliography was conceived in the 1970s by the late David Demarest, an English professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, and his graduate student Anthony Spataro. In 1976, they published From These Hills, From These Valleys, a short list of fiction produced in the region that depicts industrial work and union and political activism.

Peter Oresick, a Pittsburgh poet and teacher of writing, has recently extended the list from 300 to 1,200 novels, searching for titles in library stacks, old book reviews, Library of Congress records, etc. In 2013 Oresick began posting these titles, along with insightful comments on each book and its author, on the new blog listed above. Included are novels of practically all genres and sub-genres, including 19th Century "dime" adventure novels, French & Indian War novels, detective and mystery novels, children’s literature, and a wide range of "literary fiction" topped by such well-known books as Marcia Davenport’s best-selling The Valley of Decision (1942) and Thomas Bell’s marvelous novel of immigrant steelworkers, Out of This Furnace (1941). The entire list eventually will be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press as The Pittsburgh Novel: An Annotated Bibliography of Western Pennsylvania Fiction, 1792-2012.

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
Preserving and managing the historic and cultural resources related to steelmaking in western Pennsylvania.

Out of This Furnace
One of the finest American novels about labor and working people. Thomas Bell’s Out of This Furnace is a powerful story about struggling immigrant workers over three generations in mill towns of the Monongahela Valley.

Battle of Homestead Foundation
A not-for profit organization that encourages and sponsors literary, artistic and cultural events relating to labor and industrial history in the Pittsburgh region.

The Point of Pittsburgh: Production and Struggle at the Forks of the Ohio
A new history of Pittsburgh and its region by Charles McCollester. Instead of another history focusing on the “great men” of industry and politics, McCollester’s book presents history from the bottom up, emphasizing the contributions of natives of the area, workers and unions.