Date Available


Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Ronald D Eller Ph. D.


After the publication of Night Comes to the Cumberland: A Biography of a Depressed Area, Harry Caudill became a spokesperson for Appalachia. Throughout the 1960s, Caudill continued to challenge the corrupt political system of the Cumberland Valley. His indictment of the coal industry as a leading factor in the continual depression of the area led scholars and reformers to a better understanding of the interrelated dynamics affecting the region. Even though with the passage of time, scholars have rejected many of Caudills ideas concerning the mountain people, few doubt that he led the challenge against the political, economic, and social domination of the region during the 1960s. Because he played such an important role in reforming the region, a better understanding of the people and events that shaped his thinking demand attention. In an effort to better understand the man, this paper traveled through the formative years that shaped a mature Harry Caudill.