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Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920 Paperback – June 29, 1998
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A very fine book that will be of enormous use to Appalachian historians in the future.
"Journal of Social History"
"Meticulously researched, well written, and enhanced by dozens of poignant photographs.
"Journal of Southern History""
A book that everyone interested in the process of development in the mountains should read--and read again.
"Journal of Appalachian Studies"
"A thorough and detailed account of the emergence, florescence, and decline of the timber industry in West Virginia.
[P]rovides the best account yet of how industrialization transformed the Appalachian forests at the turn of the century.
"Journal of American History"
Meticulously researched, well written, and enhanced by dozens of poignant photographs.
"Journal of Southern History"
A thorough and detailed account of the emergence, florescence, and decline of the timber industry in West Virginia.
ÝP¨rovides the best account yet of how industrialization transformed the Appalachian forests at the turn of the century.
"Journal of American History"
Lewis's superb study of the logging industry in West Virginia . . . provides the best account yet of how industrialization transformed the Appalachian forests at the turn of the century.--Journal of American History
A very useful book that will be of great value to historians of agriculture, but also to those interested in the history of American environment, politics, law, and Appalachia.--Agricultural History Journal
The most important recent book on Appalachian society. . . . Lewis's book stands virtually alone.--American Historical Review
A major scholar of Appalachian history has brought together, synthesized and made sense of much of the debate and literature that have characterized the field of Appalachian history for the past two decades. . . . A very fine book that will be of enormous use to Appalachian historians in the future.--Journal of Social History
A skillful blend of economic, legal, and social history, this is the most complete study to date of the impact of human institutions on the Appalachian environment.--Timothy Silver, Appalachian State University
A thorough and detailed account of the emergence, florescence, and decline of the timber industry in West Virginia, in particular in five of the state's Allegheny Highland counties.--Environmental History
An important contribution to the growing body of scholarly writing that has been revising the idea of Appalachian exceptionalism for the past decade. . . . Will help banish forever the persistent social construct of a people and region somehow set apart from the major developmental currents of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century industrial capitalism. . . . Meticulously researched, well written, and enhanced by dozens of poignant photographs. It is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the dynamism of a rural-industrial society historically dismissed as static.--Journal of Southern History
The story of the deforestation of the mountains is a drama of monumental tragedy and waste. In Lewis's hands that story comes alive with meaning for Appalachia today. . . . A book that everyone interested in the process of development in the mountains should read--and read again.--Journal of Appalachian Studies
Carefully scrutinizing the actions of all those involved--from the most savvy railroad executive to the toughest 'wood hick' logger--Lewis unravels the complex legal, social, and economic relationships that led to the destruction of West Virginia's forests. This is, to date, the most complete study of the impact of humans and their institutions on the Appalachian environment.--Timothy Silver, Appalachian State University
"A moving book that deserves reading by environmentalists, sociologists, social, agricultural, and economic historians, and those with interests in southern Americana.--Choice
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Top customer reviews
Such destruction is still taking place today and in even greater and more ecologically-destructive ways in Appalachia and in West Virginia, and will bring a great awareness to the reader of the dangers that affect cultures and the environment from allowing private industry to help itself practically unrestrained to the resources of a state or region.
The book both saddened and angered me and is one that I will read again and again to remind me of what West Virginia and beautiful Appalachia has lost and of what is still stands to lose unless "we the people" do something now.
I'm an ex-WV guy, grew up in Logan County and my Dad was from a backwoods farm in Wyoming County. WV is uneconomical in which to live unless your are government or an extractive industry. Beautiful places but not spectacular like Colorado or such. But it was home,
Especially if you know and have walked the hills, it's a hard book to read without putting it down once in a while just to calm down. The wanton and almost deliberate destructiveness of timbering and mining (especially red-dog piles, the author doesn't talk about that) damn near approaches evil intent.
WV in the future? I'd like to see large parts in national forest. The coal will stay in the ground, new sources of power will see to that. Thus, mountain top removal will cease, and in due time those flattened places may be nicely vegetated and somewhat valuable. WV isn't very suitable for farming. That leaves timber. WV is so hilly that timber harvesting needs to be done with great care, and the tradition of payoffs and corruption in WV suggests that transforming large portions of it into National Forests might be desirable.
Note that this book deals with events of 1880 - 1920 -- so why is it important today? Because what was done to Central Appalachia in that period is being done to the rest of us today under the guise of "economic globalization." For example, the people of McDowell County, WV, are powerless in the face of Norfolk Southern (railroad company) because NS owns 85 percent of the land in the county. Just exactly what do you think will happen when "global" corporations own the factories, the minerals, and the workers? The experience of Appalachia with industrial and political exploitation is the same experience that awaits all of us under "economic globalization."