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The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to Americaby Jeff Biggers
Synopses & Reviews
From the first declaration of independence to the beginnings of folk music, literature, and poetry, Biggers reveals how so many of our nation's basic freedoms and founding moments grew out of the Appalachians.
"In this pleasing if imperfect study, Biggers (editor of No Lonesome Road) argues that the roots of American politics and culture are found not in Philadelphia or New York, but in Appalachia. The North Carolina Patriots, who declared themselves free of British rule long before Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, anticipated America's revolutionary, republican spirit. And if you thought the antislavery movement was born in Boston, think again. In the early 19th century, Appalachians John Rankin and Benjamin Lundy advocated emancipation; indeed, Lundy was largely responsible for winning William Lloyd Garrison to the cause. Finally, noting the importance of the Highlander Folk School in training civil rights activists, Biggers credits Appalachia with significantly advancing the cause of school desegregation. Biggers has a tendency to overwrite (Nina Simone 'celebrated a Cherokee great-great-grandmother, a Scotch-Irish elation torn into her maternal past...'). Still, this attempt to rescue Appalachia from its reputation as a backwater is likely to be a hit in the region it lauds. Map." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The word Appalachia is seldom uttered in the same sentence with the word enlightenment. More likely, images of the film Deliverance, corncob chomping grannies, or bonafide gun-toting hillbillies come to mind. However, in truth, Appalachia has been a cradle of US freedom, independence, and enlightenment, as well as a region of progressive social history, literature, and music.
The United States of Appalachia reveals to us how so many of our nations basic freedoms and founding moments grew out of the Appalachias. From the first declaration of independence to the beginnings of folk music, literature, and poetry, Jeff Biggers illuminates with humor, intelligence, and clarity, the many reasons why we all need a lesson in Appalachian history.
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