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Our Southern Highlanders: Introduction By George Ellison Paperback – December 6, 1976

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description


No other book on the Southern Appalachians is more widely known or cited.  

"Awonderful book. I like it especially for its color and anecdotes. It is a classic, not only for its accuracy and breadth of insights into the people of the region, but because these people themselves are so interesting and strong."
—Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

About the Author

Before coming the mountains, Horace Kephart (1862-1931) served as librarian of the prestigious Mercantile Library in St. Loius. His significant work, however, was done after he came to live in the Southern Appalachians in 1904. He played important roles in the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 530 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press; 1 edition (December 6, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870492039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870492037
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1998
Kephart shows the Southern Appalachian Mountaineers as they were, and in some cases, still are. Warts and all. A fair, truthfull account of his experiences while living among us, as well as the historical background for the area. It should be remembered that the book was first published in 1913 and revised in 1922, and while it is not an accurate picture of the mountains of today, if you would understand Appalachia, read this book.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By kelly howard on February 3, 2001
Kephart's engaging, entertaining style does a terrific job of bringing realism to a heavily stereotyped people; his approach is balanced, illustrating the people's good and not-so-good characteristics with anecdotes (some hilarious) and facts. He provides historical and topological frameworks for the character of mountain people. He lived a bare-bones existence among them for several years and so his narrative is richer--and truer--than that of a drop-in-ask-get-out historian's. The book provides a realistic basis for understanding people of today's mountains, where personal background is often still important.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
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I love Appalachia history and would rate this as my favorite book on the subject. I hated to see the book end!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. on August 5, 2005
Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart gave me a new perspective on people who live in the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Though some of Mr. Kephart's views on ethnic groups are clearly out of step with modern sensibility, his depiction of the settlers of our mountain regions gives readers an insightful view of these proud Americans. Furthermore, Mr. Kephart is not pedantic or boring in giving his depictions of mountain folk; but, instructs readers through amusing tales and descriptions.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 2000
Kephart delivers the facts as they really were while avoiding any hints of "documentary reading". The story gives many real life events and the reader feels almost as if he's having a conversation with Kephart. A very vivid look into Appalachian life as it really was in the early 1900s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By beejek on August 26, 2013
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Most people don't even know who Horace
Kephart WAS much less about his writings
And interesting outdoor life and years in Bryson City. This book is a Terrific read, chock full
Of stories and local color, and a great sketch
Of our southern mountain folks .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason G on April 24, 2015
Our Southern Highlanders, now over a hundred years old, is the first real examination and narrative of the people of the southern Appalachians, and Smoky mountains. The fascinating thing from the standpoint of a century away, is how Kephart writes of the land and people and history, while fully realizing the encroaching modernity that was just beginning to forever change folk ways that had existed since early settlement and was traced back to Scotland.

As a frequent visitor to the Great Smoky Mountains park, I know this land and its people to some level, but only in the sense that the land Kephart knew has been set apart as a national park, ringed by tourist attractions and a people that certainly are not as self reliant as the people Kephart knew.

Yes, Kephart does, with many anecdotes, spend much of this book on some extreme examples - the focus on moonshining in particular, but as a narrative memoir, this makes sense to some degree to focus on the more dramatic and interesting characters he meets, rather than a fully rounded out description.

The great thing to really appreciate about this work, written about three decades before the founding of the national park, is to show how these real people were rooted in time and place and could see what became a storm on the horizon with all the changes of modernity and what it meant to family, work, their faith and way of life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By plbquinn on May 24, 2013
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The seller got this item to me really fast. I loaned my other one out and never got it back. It is very informative about our mountain heritage. If you live in Appalachia you MUST read this book.
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