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A New History of Kentucky First Edition Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813120089
ISBN-10: 081312008X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Produced by two of Kentucky's most active and respected historians, this is the first comprehensive history of the Commonwealth since Thomas C. Clark chronicled Kentucky history some 60 years ago. The book's 25 chapters relate the story in chronological fashion, from pioneer days to the current challenges. Maps, figures, and tables help readers to visualize the personalities and events. This work is essential for every public and academic library in the state, and academic and some public libraries elsewhere will probably want to add it to their collections.?Richard C. Brown, Boyle Cty. P.L., Danville, Ky.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Making sense of these elements in both the regional and national settings is the challenge of state history, and one gallantly essayed by this book. The authors divide the labor and do differ from each other in their interests."―Arkansas Historical Quarterly

"This well-written and judiciously illustrated history does not read like a normal historical work. A New History of Kentucky provides an enjoyable sojourn through Kentucky without the driving expense."―Bowling Green Daily News

"Harrison and Klotter have . . . established a model for other state histories."―Indiana Magazine of History

"The writing is clear, crisp, and exciting. . . . The arrangement and topic selection throughout is especially good. Everything from county politics to music is treated with an eye for topical conciseness and uniform, lyrical, precision."―Journal of American History

"Will be 'the book' to read about Kentucky for many years to come by the general reader and scholar alike."―Journal of Southern History

"It deserves to be called our state's new definitive history. Best of all, its readable style will please the broad general audience of citizens and students for whom this book is intended."―Lexington Herald Leader

"An invaluable guide to the forces that have shaped the state's history and the patterns in that history that will well serve the needs of those who, in the new century and in the new millennium, recognize the truth in the words 'the past is prologue."―Louisville Courier Journal

"The authors pay much attention to detail without overwhelming their readers in minutiae. They invite one to experience and appreciate the Commonwealth and share their passion for its history. The honest, clear accounts describe a story that is rich, and brilliant, as well as sinister."―Northern Kentucky Heritage

"This book reveals what the writing of state history can be. I wish Ohio had a history like this one."―Ohio History

"The people of Kentucky (and all persons interested in the Bluegrass state) now have a 'new history' that incorporates the findings of the last generation of historical research and writing."―Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"A work that is both enjoyable and utilitarian; something not always achieved in works of this kind. . . From the earliest settlers to the recent reforms in Kentucky government and education, topics are arranged to both inform and enlighten the reader about the nature of the Commonwealth's history."―Southern Historian

"The book is a welcome synthesis of old and new research on the region, especially in political and economic history."―The Filson Club Historical Quarterly

""This book is a useful guide in a convenient and well-written format.""―John Hennen, Ohio History

""Students would love this information to be presented in the classroom. Trivia buffs should love the variety of factoids to be gleaned. Kentuckians and those whose family pedigree includes ancestors from the state will take pride in the work. The history of Kentucky is interesting and intriguing. The Klotters have ensured their book is the same.""―Linda Lee, Armchair Interviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; First Edition edition (March 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081312008X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813120089
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 1997
Format: Hardcover
From the initial publication of _A History of Kentucky_ in 1937 to its final sixth edition in 1977 (and its subsequent reprinting in 1988), Thomas D. Clark has been the reigning Dean of Kentucky history. While in its time Clark's work represented a valuable contribution to understanding the commonwealth's past, by the 1990's its was clear that a fresh approach to the state's history was needed. Thus it is with great pleasure that students of Kentucky history now have Harrison and Klotter's comprehensive volume.

Those familiar with this region's historiography will find the authors familiar contributors to this state's historical literature; their collaboration is, therefore, a fortuitous combination of clear writing and scholarly expertise.

The book is divided into three parts: Kentucky before 1820; Kentucky, 1820-1865; and Kentucky after 1865. More than just a chronicle of familiar themes like frontier settlement, battles, agrarianism, and politics, this
history covers social and cultural changes, economics, and urbanization. In addition, readers will appreciate the authors' excellent bibliography, a newly compiled and much needed addition to any Kentucky scholar's library. The bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

The deficits of this book are few, although larger illustrations would have nicely enhanced a lively and informative text. Also, the authors coverage of the health care sciences in Kentucky is rather weak (an area often ignored and badly in need of considerable scholarly attention) and their failure to mention the important WPA monograph _Medicine and Its Development in Kentucky_ (1949) in their otherwise fine bibliography is an unfortunate oversight. Again, however, these are relatively minor matters.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Focusing primarily on the intricacies of political history with occasional forays into the realm of socioeconomics, this book is notably dry. Because it covers several centuries in one not especially long volume, it doesn't seem to have been possible for the authors to describe any one topic in enough detail to really draw the reader in. The emphasis is almost completely on small details of elections and campaigns. The history of women and minorities is slotted in here and there, though this reader found it interesting that the authors feel the need to make a statement about the immorality of slavery while not feeling obliged to comment on the forcible taking of land from Native Americans. I would have liked to have seen a chapter on the natural environments and topography of the state so as to understand the ecosystems in which people have lived, but ecological history doesn't seem to have been an interest of the authors'. Overall, this is useful as an introductory volume but is really not what I'd call exciting or engaging. Perhaps the book's greatest fault is its dearth of useful maps. There's no good relief map and the maps overall are scanty and simplistic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A welcome new history of the first state to be established west of the Appalachians, it is written in an engaging style. Each period of Kentucky's history is throughly covered. The index allows for a quick search of key events and persons. The book is very comprehensive overall. While the authors provide a "history from the bottom up" approach in that they look beyond just the "famous men" of the Commonwealth, other minorities are missing. My only criticism would be that the authors should have explored the impact of hispanic immigration into the state in the chapter covering the 1990's (this is a relatively recent phenomenon), as well as the incipient gay rights movement represented by the Fairness Alliance in Louisville. These are a part of social history that needed to be explored. Well, hopefully in the next edition of the book. Since this volume appeared, both of these subjects have received extensive coverage in the press. History is being made by both groups in the Blue Grass state as we go into 2000 and beyond, history for the next edition of "A New History of Kentucky"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adam Harpool on January 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As both an admirer of history and a person who traces his family ancestry back to Kentucky for well over 200 years, A New History of Kentucky provided hours upon hours of enjoyable reading. The book's easy-to-follow style means that it does not "read like a history text", and the modular design permits either a complete cover to cover read (as I did), or a more focused study of particular areas in history.

And without doubt, the book's focus on underlying, consistent themes throughout Kentucky's historical developments provides a higher level of utility and modern-day relevance than other texts on the state that I have studied, whether it be frontier-oriented nature of the people, the (unfortunate) lack of emphasis on education, power struggles between eastern and western regions, the interplay of Southern and Midwestern cultural elements, the effects of tobacco, the perennial dominance of Louisville, or many others. The sections covering modern political developments were particularly well-developed, and the last section - providing an integration of Kentucky's past with its needs for the future - was both highly uplifting and of critical urgency.
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