The West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and its acclaimed WVU Press will formally launch publication ofRobert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields,the senators 800-page autobiography, with a special event Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. at the National Archives William G. McGowan Theater (at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW) in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Byrd will be on hand for a public reception followed by a personal reading at 6:45 p.m. WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. will introduce the senator. The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom will be open to the public following the event until 9 p.m.

Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfieldsrecounts the senators life experiences from growing up in Stotesbury, W.Va., in the early 1920s to his election to an unprecedented eighth U.S. Senate term in 2000, said Patrick Conner, director of the WVU Press.

This book is the generous act of a most generous man who offers us in these 800 pages the chance to understand intimately his role in our political history since World War II,Conner said.

In 1946, Byrd ran for the West Virginia House of Delegates and served two terms before winning a state Senate seat in 1950. In 1952, he won a seat in Congress and, in 1958, the seat in the U.S. Senate he has held ever since.

Only two members of Congress in U.S. history have served longer than Byrd.

Conner said the new bookis all the senators work.

Every word in the book came from him, and the first version of the manuscript was over 1,700 pages long. Sen. Byrd was, moreover, one of the best authors we have worked with at the West Virginia University Press. He met deadlines, looked at everything three or four times, involved himself completely in the production of the book, and never missed a chance to express his appreciation for the work we did as well.

Byrd called the projecta labor of love,adding,the book takes the reader on a journeythe story of my life.

The book is priced at $35 and can be ordered in advance by contacting the WVU Press toll-free at 1-866-WVUPRESS, or by

Books with signed book plates will be available in the National Archives Gift shop before and after the Senators reading.