Storm in the Mountains: A Case Study of Censorship, Conflict, and Consciousness

By James Moffett
Curated by Jonathan M. Marine and Paul Rogers

CoverSpeaking to some of the most urgent issues we are facing in education today, Storm in the Mountains (recipient of the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English in 1992) recounts the aftermath of one of the most prolonged, intense, and violent textbook protests in American history. The protests were a response to Moffett’s comprehensive language learning program, Interaction: A Student-Centered Language Arts and Reading Program (1973), which he developed after garnering widespread acclaim for his early publications, including Teaching the Universe of Discourse (1968). Interaction consisted of a vast array of different language arts materials, utilized culturally diverse subject matter, and was designed to approximate organic, self-sponsored reading, writing, and speaking. Yet, by 1974, it was precisely because of these progressive ideas that Interaction was protested to the point of cancellation by residents of Kanawha County, West Virginia. To write the book, Moffett returned a decade later to Kanawha County to speak to and interview the protestors and advocates of book banning who had objected to Interaction. Interweaving their unedited interviews with official objections written by citizens in 1974, Moffett presents a moving case study of censorship in America that lays bare the many political, cultural, and religious issues which undergird society and education in our country.

Table of Contents

Open the entire book

Front Matter



Part 1. The Drama

Prologue. West—By God—Virginia

1. Storm in the Mountains

2. The Reverberating Network

3. Kanawha County and Orange County

Part 2. Voices from the Fray

4. Father, Make Them One

5. Free Enterprise

6. Through a Glass, Darkly

7. Race War, Holy War

Part 3. What’s in the Books

8. Commies and Sex

9. McGuffey Rides Again

10. Anyone for the Classics?

11 . The Innocence Is the Crime

12 . Man's Head, Beast Body

13. Reading Comprehension

14. Petrified

Part 4. Diagnosing Agnosis

15. Ideology and Bed-Wetting

16. Group Rule

17. Playing with I.D. Cards

18. Tales Out of School




About James Moffett

James Porter Moffett (1929–1996) was a ground-breaking teacher, author, and theorist of language learning who had a profound impact on the fields of English Education, Language Arts, Composition, and Educational Psychology in the mid-to-late 20th century (Warnock). Moffett also had a lasting impact on the National Writing Project (NWP), was influential at the 1966 Dartmouth conference, and figured closely into the history of National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); speaking at a number of NCTE conferences and events, publishing more than thirty articles across the many NCTE journals, and helping to found the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning (Blau). In addition to his core pedagogical contributions, and in particular his paired 1968 publications, Teaching the Universe of Discourse and Student-Centered Language Arts, Moffett's prescience and foresight in advancing holistic assessment, progressive education, the centrality of peer-to-peer interactions, social emotional learning, and multicultural and multilingual curriculum led him to be referred to by many as “the North Star” of language arts education (Durst; Spalding et al.).

Publication Information: Moffett, James. (2022). Storm in the Mountains: A Case Study of Censorship, Conflict, and Consciousness. The WAC Clearinghouse. (Originally published by Southern Illinois University Press in 1988)

Publication Date: November 11, 2022

Landmark Publications in Writing Studies

Series Editor: Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University

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