High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place

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Buy As Gift. Overview This collection is the first comprehensive, cohesive volume to unite Appalachian history with its culture. Richard A. Straw and H. Tyler Blethen's High Mountains Rising provides a clear, systematic, and engaging overview of the Appalachian timeline, its people, and the most significant aspects of life in the region. The first half of the fourteen essays deal with historical issues including Native Americans, pioneer settlement, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization, the Great Depression, migration, and finally, modernization.

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The remaining essays take a more cultural focus, addressing stereotypes, music, folklife, language, literature, and religion. Bringing together many of the most prestigious scholars in Appalachian studies, this volume has been designed for general and classroom use, and includes suggestions for further reading. About the Author Richard A. Straw is professor of history at Radford University, the author of Images of America: Blacksburg, and has published articles on Appalachian foodways, on Mike Seeger, and on the United Mine Workers of America, coal mining, and historical photography. Straw 1.

Native Americans C. Clifford Boyd Jr.

Beautiful Appalachian Mountain Men Singing Together

Pioneer Settlement H. Tyler Blethen 3.

Project MUSE - High Mountains Rising

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  • Richard A. Straw and H. Tyler Blethen, eds., High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place.
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Add a tag Cancel Be the first to add a tag for this edition. Lists What are lists? Login to add to list. Be the first to add this to a list. Comments and reviews What are comments? Add a comment. Here Salstrom makes a counter-intuitive argument and the only controversial argument in the collection on the desirability of low-paid industrial labor.

While most people would condemn low wages as exploitative, Salstrom considers the practice to have been beneficial for Appalachia. Low wages, especially in coal mining, allowed Appalachia to contribute to the national economy, by subsidizing industry; wages of any kind, meanwhile, were a subsidy for local exchange? At that point, local exchange became synonymous with poverty, and regional poverty quickly became an embarrassment to the US, especially during the Cold War.

In response, the United States government launched, from the New Deal through the Great Society, an intensive campaign against local exchange, in the name of "modernization" and improved material standards of living. As recounted by Ronald Eller, this campaign emphasized urban development, especially in the "growth poles" strategy of the Appalachian Regional Commission. The result has been an increase in standards of living albeit unevenly by completing, after two centuries, the nationalization of the regional economy. While Eller describes the decline of regional economic distinctiveness, he also notes a stronger sense of regional identity, presumably grounded in an enhanced appreciation for regional cultural traditions.

In the cultural realm, the current synthesis emphasizes ethnic diversity and a wide range of cultural influences and cultural borrowing. This emphasis acts as a corrective to older interpretations, derived again from assumptions of regional isolation, of Anglo-Saxon stasis. We hear a lot in this collection about African Americans, primarily as slaves and as coal miners, though they seem to disappear after about ; we hear also about early Scotch-Irish settlers though less of Germans and the elusive Melungeons and about twentieth-century European immigrants to the mines.


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  5. The Cherokee are featured in the opening essay, by C. Clifford Boyd, Jr. The essays dealing with Appalachian culture present a complicated, multi-faceted cultural environment, as opposed to simplified versions of culture embedded in isolation narratives. The propensity to simplify and caricature the mountains, so common in twentieth-century literature, music, and visual media, is analyzed by David Hsuing, in his essay on stereotypes. Michael Ann Williams, meanwhile, depicts a wide variety of activities herb gathering, musical instruments making, singing, quilting , derived from European, Cherokee, and African forms, that made up a nineteenth-century rural folklife.

    Bill Malone shows the varied forms of Appalachian music, inspired not only by an Anglo-Celtic balladry that so fascinated turn-of-the-century observers, but also from the vaudeville, blues and the labor movement.

    Weise on Straw and Blethen, 'High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place'

    Both Malone and Michael Montgomery in a piece on Appalachian English lament the use of "Appalachian" as a popular shorthand for anything evoking a quaint, rustic, and rural community typically read as isolated and as racially white. Montgomery takes especial care to insist that while Appalachian English constitutes a distinct dialect or several distinct dialects , it is a variant of larger regional language forms and not a holdover from William Shakespeare or Geoffrey Chaucer.

    In "Religion," Deborah Vansau McCauley evokes a communal and heart-centered mountain spirituality; she also seems to homogenize religious experience by restricting authentic religious expression to sectarian Baptist and Holiness congregations. Other Christian churches are either intrusions or are melded into an essentialized Appalachian religiosity. It is clear from this collection that we do not have a solid grip on historical narratives that take us past the s we do better on the cultural angles. The chronological framing of the essays is too wide to allow a satisfying treatment of the later decades; too often the last forty years is afterthought or epilogue.

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