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Nick and Viola: A Kentucky Family Tragedy in the Tobacco Wars (1904-1911) Paperback – June 6, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482372053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482372052
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,299,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laura Derr is a retired teacher and marketing professional living in East Tennessee. A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Masters degree in English, she taught college English for fifteen years in Virginia, Texas, and Iowa. In 1980 she co-authored a textbook for an NPR radio course on The World of F. Scott Fitzgerald. While raising a family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she and her husband owned and operated a marketing research business for seventeen years. A native of the Bluegrass area of Kentucky, she has a unique perspective on the tobacco wars of the early 1900s and how they affected lives both then and now.

Customer Reviews

The author did a good job on outlining the events.
Bobbi Phelps Wolverton, author BEHIND THE SMILE
This is a wonderful account of my husband's maternal ancestors.
Lou A. Boyers
I found this to be an interesting and loving read.
Margaret S. Verble

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gail Duncan on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
It has been said that good literature evokes a response, be it positive or negative. Nick and Viola demand a response; the reader is drawn into their lives, experiencing the struggles, the passion, and the "grit" typical of this unique couple. Aside from their story, the book provides an informative insight into the tobacco wars of that era. This creative juxtaposition provides a provocative reading experience. Be prepared to be faced with many emotions as you see the real world through the eyes of Nick and Viola. I highly recommend the book.
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Format: Paperback
Author Laura Derr has created an important history of an interesting period of Kentucky and other states which grew tobacco around the beginning of the 20th century. This book will be used by researchers in the future.

In the last chance before the details are forgotton, and some verbal histories are still available, Derr has carefully researched and saved a stark story of suffering by growers, and abuse by buyers, during the beginnings of Big Tobacco. The reader is led through the well-written and well-developed scenario as it unfolds, but won't be prepared for the critical events that occured to the central couple of the story and the terrible after effects of that tragedy.

In addition to those involved in growing tobacco, now or formally, this book should be read by all the beneficiaries of the James Duke tobacco fortune who most likely don't have any idea of the terrible cruelty and human costs inflicted on growers which were caused by their founder as he acquired his fortune.

Grey Perry
aka Lawrence Grey
Author of Letters from Grampy, How to Make the Most of Your Teen Years.
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Format: Paperback
Laura Derr has rescued from obscurity the fascinating and tragic but little-known story of the Muntz family and Tobacco in early 20th century central Kentucky. Her thorough research and her skill as an author make the story of Nick and Viola's family struggles personal and relevant to all of us who grew up in working class families. She has established herself as a consummate story-teller and historian. This book will inspire a great respect for parents and grandparents who faced great hardships in raising their families in the first half of the 20th century. If only someone could tell the story, as she has told it of tobacco, of coal and the mines in which my grandfather worked in eastern Kentucky. Mrs. Derr has done all of us a great favor by sharing her story.
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Format: Paperback
I found this to be an interesting and loving read. I'm not a member of this family and wasn't raised around tobacco (except in cigarettes), but it's this kind of small history built on regular people's lives that really provides a feel for the past. This particular book also speaks to the fragility of life as we live it daily and to the reverberations of actions and accident through generations. If we all dug around and wrote these kinds of histories, we'd have a more complete picture of the human condition we share.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More detail than I needed about family members, though found
some of it interesting. My grandparents were tobacco farmers in
eastern Tennessee a few years later than the "Nick and Viola"
story and have wondered what effect, if any. the tobacco wars
had on them. I never knew to ask my questions when they could
have been answered. A good read, overall.
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I learned so much about "tobacco wars", a portion of history that was sadly missing from my education. The book gave me a new appreciation for those few who were brave enough to stand up against James Duke and also for the even fewer who stood against Clarence LeBus in an effort to provide for their families. What a frightening time for Laura Derr's ancestors!
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Nick and Viola: A Kentucky Family Tragedy in the Tobacco Wars (1904-1911)
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