"Alther is an expert on the subject of the feud."
--Wall Street Journal
"An exhaustively researched, well written, and beautifully produced volume...that considers not only the events of the feud and their consequences but the complex web of unique circumstances...that allowed the conflict to continue for so long."
--Knoxville News Sentinel
"Well researched and finely written...Alther goes beyond the bloody facts, showing how utterly American the feud was, and how it reverberates yet today...But the best part is tracking the bloodstained characters through their astounding, outrageous lives. Lots of photographs spice things up even more."
"Alther's book is well researched ... a fever dream of bloody revenge and forbidden romance deep in the mountains."
--Lexington Herald"BLOOD FEUD joins a host of key paradigm-shifting books about mountain identity, including 'Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers' by Ronald Eller and 'The Mind of the South' by W.J. Cash...[and] also great Appalachian memoirs such as John O'Brien's 'At Home in the Heart of Appalachia.'" -- Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen Times
From the Inside Flap
America’s most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate relative of “Devil Anse” Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoy’s daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoy’s sons killed Devil Anse Hatfield’s younger brother. Exacting vigilante revenge, a group of Hatfields tied them up and shot them dead. McCoy posses hijacked part of the Hatfield firing squad across state lines to stand trial, while those still free burned down Ranel McCoy’s cabin and shot two more of his children in a botched attempt to suppress the posses. Legal wrangling ensued until the US Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky could try the captured West Virginian Hatfields. Seven went to prison, and one, mentally disabled, yelled, “The Hatfields made me do it!” as he was hanged in the Bluegrass State’s last public execution. But the feud didn’t end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and to exact an onerous toll on the region itself.
With a charming voice, a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and an abiding gift for spinning a yarn, best-selling author Lisa Alther makes an impartial, comprehensive, and compelling investigation of what actually happened, masterfully setting the feud in its historical and cultural contexts, digging deep into the many causes and explanations of the fighting, and revealing surprising alliances and entanglements. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.