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Spirits of Just Men: Mountaineers, Liquor Bosses, and Lawmen in the Moonshine Capital of the World Paperback – April 20, 2011
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"This informative, engaging work wonderfully reveals the culture and colorful history of a region with intimate ties to the illegal production and distribution of alcohol during 'Prohibition.'"--Booklist
"A well-researched and well-written study and a thought-provoking portrait of 1930s Appalachia."--Library Journal
"Worthy of the attention of both scholars and an interested public."--The Historian
"An exceptionally passionate, sensitive, and complex analysis of Great Depression-era life in rural Virginia."--The Journal of Southern History
"Spirits of Just Men is an example of microhistory at its best."--H-Net Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
"Spirits of Just Men" takes you on a fantastic journey through "the Moonshine Capital of the World Franklin County" to learn about the hardships and circumstances that helped form the uber independent people of these Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
Hardworking, passionate and sober were the people most often stereotyped in the media as gun-toting, ignorant and lazy in this Appalachian region of The Blue Ridge. As Dr Thompson so poignantly shares, the Depression did not hit hard in these mountains, they were struggling to survive before, during, and after. Each day was like the last, where families endured hard times being so isolated from industrial America at the time, doing their best to make ends meet.
These mountain people born of sturdy Scotch-Irish stock had determination like none other, and had a crop with some ingenuity they could indeed get to market! They could grow corn, and from this corn make whiskey, which they held as a longtime tradition. This was became a hot topic nationwide as the government wanting its portion of the sales from the whiskey, pursued them deep in the hollows and at top speed along the roads of Franklin County. The moonshiners, of which made up a large percentage of these poor mountaineers, simply could not afford to pay this revenue and provide for their families as well. The vast majority of liquor producers here made just enough to keep them going until the next batch was sent to market.Read more ›
I'd always heard how lazy and ignorant `hillbillies' were. They're portrayed as feuding alcoholics. This book opened my eyes to some truths. The feuds started when the government intervened to tax whiskey. Since the individual producers couldn't afford to pay the tax they were breaking the law. And then prohibition hit and the real trouble began. Though there were some slow parts in the narrative the history far outweighed that and kept my interest. Thompson does an excellent job of conveying individual faces and lives of the people who lived through and shaped Blue Ridge history.
This review is based on an egalley supplied by the publisher.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We live in Virginia, so anything about this era is treasured. Very well researched and written.Published 21 months ago by richard h russell
So shipping great. Story a little boring. More pictures and less history leading up to the moonshining would have been helpful.Published on September 15, 2013 by hotdogirl
Well researched. plus plenty of personal/family stories. Very narrow in scope in that it concentrates on the Endicott area of Frankin County VA. But that is where I live. Read morePublished on March 29, 2013 by Burton White
I bought this book for my husband. He has read many inserts from the book to me, so now I'm going to read it also.Published on March 25, 2013 by R. Clear
Interesting read. I love these kinds of books, want to find more on Prohibition and history of the past Mountaineers and surrounding areas to PIttsburghPublished on January 15, 2013 by Amy E. Campbell
This book delves deeply into the history and economy of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. It is well written and I learned a lot about U.S. history while reading the book. Read morePublished on November 29, 2012 by Susan Robinson