For some reason I don't know as I ever knew that George McGovern started off life as a historian -- his Ph.D. dissertation completed at Northwestern in 1953 was on the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913 to 1914 (known popularly as the Ludlow massacre). McGovern's passing sent me looking for his history writing -- I thought that I might add it to the senior theses and other early writing of the now famous -- and I landed on his 1972 book (co-authored with Leonard F. Guttridge) on The Great Coalfield War (Houghton Mifflin 1972). As long-time readers of the faculty lounge may recall, I love opening lines -- such Marshall Sahlins' How Missionaries Thought: About Captain Cook, for Instance ("Heinrich Zimmerman heard it directly from the Hawaiians: Cook was Lono."). And in the case of Anthony Wallace's Rockdale the opening couple of paragraphs.
I'd add McGovern's opening line to that list of powerful beginnings: "The exploiters have come and gone. The last industrialists abandoned the region thirty years ago."