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A History of Appalachia Paperback – September 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0813190600 ISBN-10: 0813190606 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; Reprint edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813190606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813190600
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2002." --

About the Author

Richard B. Drake, professor emeritus of history at Berea College, was one of the founding members of the Appalachian Studies Association.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By E. E Pofahl on April 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A HISTORY OF APPALACHIA is a well-written, history of Appalachia. The introduction notes that "....there are those who reserve as Appalachia only those areas of the Southern Appalachians that are `real mountains." The author's definition is broader including "all of the provinces of the Southern Appalachian" and extends to western Pennsylvania.
The book is organized in three parts. Part 1, titled THE CONTEST FOR APPALACHIA, covers the period from the Indians through the American Revolution. The author writes "The principal class who migrated to America after 1715 were mostly folk who shared a....desire for land to support their basically simple lives." These migrants passed through the coastal area and settled in the backwoods where small acreages were cleared and became basically a predominately yeoman (farm) economy.
Part 2, THE NEW NATION AND THE APPALACHIAN BACKWOODS, covers the period through the Civil War. While Appalachia supported the Revolution, they had no representation at the constitutional debates of 1787-1789. "By 1800 quite a different European-derived society had developed along the Appalachian frontier" and the author notes that a "snug little rivalry" developed between the east and west sections of the eastern states. Appalachia supported the War of 1812 when loyalty soared in the Appalachian backwoods but divisive issues would soon appear.
The text notes "most small farmers in East Tennessee, northern Georgia, West Virginia and eastern Kentucky usually identified more strongly with the....Union." These areas were often identified with the Radical Republican during Reconstruction.; however, by 1876 the ex-Confederates had again assumed control. The text briefly discusses the feuds of the era noting many were active "before the Civil War.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harry Eagar VINE VOICE on June 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
From Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, on a clear day you can see most of Appalachia: See Seven States is the slogan. From my grandmother's porch on "The Brow" nearby on Signal Mountain, you could see six states.

But is Appalachia even a place? It is surely an ecological province, and a very interesting one. For its size, it has more tree species than any other part of the temperate zone, for example. But is it a specific historical zone?

Richard Drake, who was a historian at Berea College, takes this question seriously. Some other scholars have averred that Appalachia was an invention of outsiders. As an Appalachian myself, I never had any doubts that we were different from other folks, and Drake concludes the same.

Geographically, Appalachia extends nearly to Canada, but in human terms it divides fairly cleanly into northern and southern sections, and it is the southern part that is usually thought of when the word is used. For most purposes, Drake takes Appalachia to run south from Pittsburgh.

The original residents of Appalachia do not seem to have formed a distinctive zone. Indian cultures, so far as we know them, were not coterminous with the several hundred counties in 10 states that make up Drake's Appalachia. The reason, not identified by Drake, is simple. Uncomplicated Indian material culture was not constrained by rugged mountains. One could hunt, fish and grow a little corn and pumpkins as easily in the mountains as in the bottoms. (Hawaii, where I live now, shows a similar situation. Places, such as valleys on the north shore of Molokai, that today are so remote that people scarcely visit them, were populated in premodern times, because they were nearly self-sufficient.
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Format: Paperback
Richard B. Drake's "A History of Appalachia" describes this mysterious part of the eastern United States from the pre-European era to the end of the 20th century. Although published by the University Press of Kentucky, this is meant for a general audience. There are no footnotes or in-text citations, and references are cited at the end of the book.

There are many definitions of Appalachia, and some scholars have questioned whether it even makes sense to speak of one such region. Drake sees Appalachia as the mountainous areas of northern Alabama and northern Georgia, the west of South Carolia, Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, part of the west of Virgina and finally western Pennsylvania. What unifies this whole region, Drake claims, is the feature of yeomanry: a society where a family owns and farms its own land. The earliest settlers came from portions of Great Britain and Germany whose inhabitants were hungry for land, wanting that sort of security and unwilling to work on larger commercial farms. Though Appalachian society has diversified and yeomanry involves a minority of Appalachians, Drake believes this phenomenon has continued to the present day.

The economic history of Appalachia also interests Drake. He notes that for centuries this part of the United States was fairly self-sufficient. The industrialization of the US brought the area into the capitalist system. A heavy demand for coal and timber meant that the region was exploited for its natural resources, with results that weren't entirely fair for locals. The book closes with some musings on how Appalachia can prosper economically without losing the traditional values that Drake admires.

A HISTORY OF APPALACHIA is certainly informative on many levels.
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