Synopses & Reviews
Americas most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate relative of “Devil Anse” Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoys daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoys sons killed Devil Anse Hatfields younger brother. Exacting vigilante revenge, a group of Hatfields tied them up and shot them dead. McCoy posses hijacked part of the Hatfield firing squad across state lines to stand trial, while those still free burned down Ranel McCoys cabin and shot two more of his children in a botched attempt to suppress the posses. Legal wrangling ensued until the US Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky could try the captured West Virginian Hatfields. Seven went to prison, and one, mentally disabled, yelled, “The Hatfields made me do it!” as he was hanged in the Bluegrass States last public execution. But the feud didnt end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and to exact an onerous toll on the region itself.
With a charming voice, a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and an abiding gift for spinning a yarn, best-selling author Lisa Alther makes an impartial, comprehensive, and compelling investigation of what actually happened, masterfully setting the feud in its historical and cultural contexts, digging deep into the many causes and explanations of the fighting, and revealing surprising alliances and entanglements. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.
Click here to view the Hatfield and McCoy Family Tree
America's most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Harmon McCoy, a Union soldier, by a Confederate Hatfield relative. But Southern grudges run long and deep. More than a decade later tempers flared over stolen hogs. This accusation triggered years of bloody violence and retribution that led to a tragic Romeo-and-Juliet interlude, a Supreme Court ruling, and Kentuckys last public hanging. The final feud trial took place in 1898, but the rivalry didnt end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and the people of the region. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous story of the Hatfields and the McCoys.
About the Author
Lisa Alther was born in the Appalachian town of Kingsport, Tennessee, and is the author of six bestselling novels, which have appeared in fifteen languages and sold over 6 million copies worldwide. Her fathers family is related by marriage to the Fighting McCoys.