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Blood Feud: The Hatfields And The Mccoys: The Epic Story Of Murder And Vengeance Hardcover – May 22, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762779187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762779185
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."
--Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

"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.

More About the Author

Lisa Alther is the author of six novels -- KINFLICKS, ORIGINAL SINS, OTHER WOMEN, BEDROCK, FIVE MINUTES IN HEAVEN, and WASHED IN THE BLOOD. She has also written a memoir (KINFOLKS), a novella (BIRDMAN AND THE DANCER), a collection of short stories (STORMY WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES) and a narrative history of the Hatfield-McCoy feud (BLOOD FEUD). These books have been published in seventeen languages and have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide. Alther was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1944. She currently lives in Tennessee, Vermont, and New York City.

Customer Reviews

I really enjoyed reading Lisa's book!
Phyl Worm
While I will give credit to the book for providing a basic outline of the feud's characters and events, it is definitely not unbiased history.
TeeShay
I missed the TV series, so I was looking forward to reading this book.
morris busby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By lovetoread on May 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being from W.V. I have heard many stories of the Hatfield & McCoy feud. The author did a wonderful job. I bought this book in light of the history channel airing their version of the feud. Very interesting to see the variations between fact & fiction. The author did a magnificient job setting the stage of the life & times gone by. Highly advise this read.
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Sara B on May 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew little about the infamous Hatfield and McCoys prior to reading Lisa Alther's Blood Feud, but after finishing it late last night a fascination with the topic has been ignited in me. Alther did an amazing job chronicling the facts when available with various possible scenarios to present a compelling tale of murder, betrayal and loss. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this wonderful book.
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67 of 78 people found the following review helpful By D. Moody on May 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lisa Alther has done it again! Following on the heels of her classic non-fiction and historical fiction works on the Melungeons, she traces the lineage of this notorious American mountain feud. As a careful researcher, Alther uses all available primary sources, historic surveys of the clash, personal observation, and visits to important sites and contemporary interviews with individuals who were a part of or related to the original historic characters.

In this balanced recounting of the incidents that occurred over an extended period of time, Alther presents both sides of the story along with verifiable aspects that clarify the story for those unfamiliar with any of the details. She had a knack for 'articulate humor' that is characterized by the best of Southern writers who understand the genres of both fiction and non-fiction.

The dustjacket for this book is a collectible in itself; it has a reverse side with photos of the two progenitors and maps of the related sections of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, then it opens up to show a large format family tree from both families. As a lifelong bibliophile, it is clear to me that every person involved in the production of this project has a great appreciation for, not only quality literature, but also, for the impact of the physical nature of a published book; from paper to typeset, to liner papers, cover design and final product. The simplicity of an ebook can't match the euphoria of handling this kind of physical product.

Influenced by her vast experience with fiction writing, Alther makes reading about history both fun and enlightening. Highly recommended.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By morris busby on April 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
I grew up in southern West Virginia where stories of the Hatfields and McCoys abound. I missed the TV series, so I was looking forward to reading this book. What a disappointment. The first part of the book, which deals with the feud itself, is almost impossible to follow. Although it is admittedly difficult to sort out the tangled relationships, a skilled author should be able to present a coherent narrative. Worse, the author's obvious bias is all the more glaring when it is layered onto what is supposed to be an historical recounting of these events. Calling people "goons" and "thugs" is unprofessional if you are pretending to be impartial. The second half of the book, which is dripping with sarcasm and snide comments, has little to do with the feud itself, although the author tries to make it relevant with some sophomoric analysis. The only redeeming features are the photographs and some history of what happened to the feud participants. But overall, a dreadful book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By LESLIE HOLLOWELL on May 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not hard to figure which family the author is decended from...then she goes on to inject her own political/social opinions to which I really didnt care to read...I was hoping I was buying an informative unbiased book on this subject,But what I got was DISAPPOINTING,BIAS,injected with personal social views,,,,,Hey AMAZON,,,Can I get my money back????
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tom on July 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the interest of full disclosure, I will state up front that I am the author of a book on the same subject, "The Hatfields and McCoys after Kevin Costner: Rescuing History."

I was born and raised on Blackberry Creek, a mile from where the Election Day, 1882 events occurred.

Directly descended from Preacher Anderson Hatfield and Uriah McCoy, I knew many people when I was growing up during the late 1940's and 1950's who remembered the actual events of the 1880's.

I began researching the records in Pikeville, Logan, Charleston and Frankfort as a college student fifty-five years ago. I was too busy making a living to write a book on the feud, but the 2012 movie, followed by the books by Alther and King changed that. This book by Ms. Alther was the initial motivation for my book, and the one by Dean King which followed made my book an absolute necessity.

Ms. Alther is a competent novelist, and, had she written a novel based on the characters in the feud story, I would have remained silent. But she sells the book as non-fiction, and has reviews from prestigious sources like the Wall Street Journal lauding her as "an expert on the subject of the feud."

The three editorial reviews following that of the Journal all say that Alther's book is "well researched," or "exhaustively researched."

This book is a conglomeration of previously spun tall tales, spiced with some of the writer's own inventions. I will cite only one of dozens of this author's whoppers to illustrate:

Alther writes, on page 35: "Ranel McCoy did eventually retaliate, though, however blandly. Fifteen months after Harmon's death, in April, 1866, he charged Devil Anse Hatfield with stealing a horse from his farm in 1864.
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