Nearly a century ago, hundreds of families journeyed from Spain to the United States, to search for a better life in the growing zinc-industry towns of Harrison County, West Virginia. As they created a new culture and a new home in this strange land, they added another thread to the rich fabric of our nation. Writing from his perspective as a first-generation son of this immigrant community, González recounts his childhood memories of his neighborhood, where these immigrants raised their families, worked in the often insufferable conditions of the zinc factories, and celebrated "romerias" and feast days with their neighbors.
Gavin W. "Bill" González was born in 1909 in Anmoore, West Virginia, the son of immigrants from Asturias, Spain. The Gonzálezes and their neighbors built a lively community centered around a place called Pinnick Kinnick Hill. Though Gavin González eventually moved away from his childhood home, he never forgot West Virginia, often taking his children and grandchildren on pilgrimages to Pinnick Kinnick Hill. Only after his death in 1988 did the family discover that he had written a memoir recounting the stories of his youth. The book is partly a memoir, partly a history, and partly a novel, all combined in a sometimes heartwarming and sometimes bittersweet celebration of how one small Spanish community survived and then prospered in the ethnic cauldron that was America. Published in side-by-side English and Spanish, Pinnick Kinnick Hill: An American Story is a story of struggle and disappointment, but ultimately one of resilience, cooperation, and one man’s discovery of America.
"Pinnick Kinnick Hill is part novel, part memoir. It's a history lesson and a love song. And while the book is published in both English and Spanish (the same narrative in Spanish appears on each facing page), the book really only has one universal language shared by immigrant families everywhere: the language of love, sacrifice, discipline, and devotion."
Jim Bissett, The Dominion Post
"...a welcome addition to the growing literature on Appalachian immigration."
Jerry Bruce Thomas, Journal of Appalachian Studies
"...pure Americana, rich indeed in its evocation of a time long gone by...."
Stephen Goode, The Washington Times