The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America

Jeff Biggers, Author . Shoemaker & Hoard $26 (238p) ISBN 978-1-59376-031-1

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. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 260 pages - 978-1-58243-994-5
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-1-59376-151-6
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