Appalachia has long been stereotyped as a region of feuds, moonshine stills, mine wars, environmental destruction, joblessness, and hopelessness. Robert Schenkkan's 1992 Pulitzer-Prize winning play The Kentucky Cycle once again adopted these stereotypes, recasting the American myth as a story of repeated failure and poverty—the failure of the American spirit and the poverty of the American soul. Dismayed by national critics' lack of attention to the negative depictions of mountain people in the play, a group of Appalachian scholars rallied against the stereotypical representations of the region's people. In Back Talk from Appalachia, these writers talk back to the American ...Read More
Most Americans know Appalachia through stereotyped images: moonshine and handicrafts, poverty and illiteracy, rugged terrain and isolated mountaineers. Historian David Hsiung maintains that in order to understand the origins of such stereotypes, we must look critically at their underlying concepts, especially those of isolation and community.
Hsiung focuses on the mountainous area of upper East Tennessee, tracing this area's development from the first settlement in the eighteenth century to the eve of the Civil War. Through his examination, he identifies the different ways in which the region's inhabitants were connected to or separated from other peoples and places. Using an ...Read More
The “State Line Country” of this book is a rugged area of small farms on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Historically the area has had a homicide rate more than ten times the national average.
In this gripping and penetrating study of violence and death in the State Line Country, Lynwood Montell examines the local historical and social conditions, as well as the prevailing attitudes and values, that gave rise and support to rowdy behavior and homicidal acts from the Civil War to the 1930s. The area fostered, he thinks, a culture of violence. Drawing from vivid oral accounts, which he recorded ...Read More
Among the darkest corners of Kentucky’s past are the grisly feuds that tore apart the hills of Eastern Kentucky from the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth. Now, from the tangled threads of conflicting testimony, John Ed Pearce, Kentucky’s best known journalist, weaves engrossing accounts of six of the most notorious accounts to uncover what really happened and why. His story of those days of darkness brings to light new evidence, questions commonly held beliefs about the feuds, and us and long-running feuds—those in Breathitt, Clay Harlan, Perry, Pike, and Rowan counties. What caused the feuds that left ...Read More
In Appalachia’s Path to Dependency, Paul Salstrom examines the evolution of economic life over time in southern Appalachia. Moving away from the colonial model to an analysis based on dependency, he exposes the complex web of factors—regulation of credit, industrialization, population growth, cultural values, federal intervention—that has worked against the region.
Salstrom argues that economic adversity has resulted from three types of disadvantages: natural, market, and political. The overall context in which Appalachia’s economic life unfolded was one of expanding United States markets and, after the Civil War, of expanding capitalist relations.
Covering Appalachia’s economic history from early white settlement ...Read More
The images of poverty in Appalachia that John F. Kennedy used in his campaign for the presidency in 1960 shocked and disturbed many Americans. Five years later, President Lyndon Johnson and the U.S. Congress demonstrated their commitment to that neglected and exploited region with the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission. In this insightful book, Michael Bradshaw explores the ARC’s unique federal-state partnership and analyses in detail the contributions of the local development districts.
But this work is more than an analysis of a government agency; it is, as Bradshaw notes, “a book about an attempt to change the human ...Read More
For more than fifty years mountain-born Earl Palmer traveled the Southern Appalachians with his camera, recording his personal vision of the mountain people and their heritage. Over these years he created, in several thousand photographs, a distinctive body of work that affirms a traditional image of Appalachia—a region of great natural beauty inhabited by a self-sufficient people whose lives are notable for simplicity and harmony.
For this book, Jean Haskell Speer has selected more than 120 representative photographs from Palmer’s collection and has written a biographical and critical commentary based on extensive interviews with the photographer. The photographs portray the ...Read More
The people of the Kentucky mountains and the southern Appalachians preserved a language alive with colorful turns of phrase and whimsical wit and for their amusement they created a rich vein of oral lore—songs, tales, and games. James Still presents a varied and entertaining collection of riddles, whimsies, and verbal pranks, gathered through his long association with the mountain people of eastern Kentucky.
This book includes in one volume two earlier books—Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek and The Wolfpen Rusties—that have been unavailable for several years. It contains the complete text of the original editions, including Still’s explanatory notes ...Read More
This volume is the first to explore broadly many important theoretical and applied issues concerning the mental health of Appalachians. The authors—anthropologists, psychologists, social workers and others—overturn many assumptions held by earlier writers, who have tended to see Appalachia and its people as being dominated by a culture of poverty.
While the heterogeneity of the region is acknowledged in the diversity of sub-areas and populations discussed, dominant themes emerge concerning Appalachia as a whole. The result of the authors' varied approaches is a cumulative portrait of a strong regional culture with native support systems based on family, community, and religion....Read More
Along the isolated headwaters of the Kentucky River—Cutshin and Greasy creeks—folklorist Leonard Roberts found the Couches, a remarkable mountain family of gifted memory and imagination. For half a century they had preserved the traditional ways of their forebears—the farming methods, the household arts, and the games, ballads, dances, and tales that were their chief entertainment.
In Up Cutshin and Down Greasy, brothers Dave and Jim Couch, born about the turn of the century, recall clearly their childhood days on Sang Branch of Greasy and Clover Fork of Big Leatherwood. Dave, a professional moonshiner and bottlegger in his younger days, tells ...Read More
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