In 1871, shortly after the University of Alabama reopened after its destruction by Federal troops, Eugene Allen Smith returned to his alma mater as professor of geology and mineralogy. After persuading the legislature to appoint him state geologist in 1873, he spent his summers enduring chills, fevers, and verbal abuse as he searched for industrial raw materials that could bring about better lives for destitute Alabamians. What he accomplished became the catalyst that transformed Alabama from an aimless and poverty-stricken agricultural state to the most industrialized state in the South. How he did what he did, with very little support and hardly any money, gave this diminutive and very human man a stature of mythic proportions in the history of the university and he state. Writer Aileeen Kilgore Henderson puts Smith’s findings in the perspective for the modern reader, alongside Smith’s own words and many of his lush original photographs.