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Night Comes To The Cumberlands: A Biography Of A Depressed Area

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“At the time it was first published in 1962, it framed such an urgent appeal to the American conscience that it actually prompted the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission, an agency that has pumped millions of dollars into Appalachia. Caudill's study begins in the violence of the Indian wars and ends in the economic despair of the 1950s and 1960s. Two hundred y “At the time it was first published in 1962, it framed such an urgent appeal to the American conscience that it actually prompted the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission, an agency that has pumped millions of dollars into Appalachia. Caudill's study begins in the violence of the Indian wars and ends in the economic despair of the 1950s and 1960s. Two hundred years ago, the Cumberland Plateau was a land of great promise. Its deep, twisting valleys contained rich bottomlands. The surrounding mountains were teeming with game and covered with valuable timber. The people who came into this land scratched out a living by farming, hunting, and making all the things they need-including whiskey. The quality of life in Appalachia declined during the Civil War and Appalachia remained "in a bad way" for the next century. By the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Appalachia had become an island of poverty in a national sea of plenty and prosperity. Caudill's book alerted the mainstream world to our problems and their causes. Since then the ARC has provided millions of dollars to strengthen the brick and mortar infrastructure of Appalachia and to help us recover from a century of economic problems that had greatly undermined our quality of life.”-Print ed.


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“At the time it was first published in 1962, it framed such an urgent appeal to the American conscience that it actually prompted the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission, an agency that has pumped millions of dollars into Appalachia. Caudill's study begins in the violence of the Indian wars and ends in the economic despair of the 1950s and 1960s. Two hundred y “At the time it was first published in 1962, it framed such an urgent appeal to the American conscience that it actually prompted the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commission, an agency that has pumped millions of dollars into Appalachia. Caudill's study begins in the violence of the Indian wars and ends in the economic despair of the 1950s and 1960s. Two hundred years ago, the Cumberland Plateau was a land of great promise. Its deep, twisting valleys contained rich bottomlands. The surrounding mountains were teeming with game and covered with valuable timber. The people who came into this land scratched out a living by farming, hunting, and making all the things they need-including whiskey. The quality of life in Appalachia declined during the Civil War and Appalachia remained "in a bad way" for the next century. By the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Appalachia had become an island of poverty in a national sea of plenty and prosperity. Caudill's book alerted the mainstream world to our problems and their causes. Since then the ARC has provided millions of dollars to strengthen the brick and mortar infrastructure of Appalachia and to help us recover from a century of economic problems that had greatly undermined our quality of life.”-Print ed.

30 review for Night Comes To The Cumberlands: A Biography Of A Depressed Area

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hardesty

    A Mandatory Read for Anyone Trying to Grasp an Understanding of the Kentucky Appalachians. Harry Caudill pulls no punches in ascribing blame for the plight of the land and of the people of the Cumberlands. I'm not sure anyone has the depth and breadth of knowledge of the major influences contributing to the pitiable state of affairs in the Eastern Kentucky mountains as the author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Evadare Volney

    Fascinating history, with so many disparate elements combined in one place. A bit dated, so watch out for language that would be considered racist, classist, and/or misogynist today. I also can't believe he thinks part of Appalachia's problem is that it isn't religious enough. But for all these flaws he gives a scathing and clear-eyed account of how industrialists' greed and politicians' cowardice and corruption created a perfect storm of exploitation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Written in 1961 this is kind of a prequel to "Hillbilly Elegy". Very interesting mix of history, folklore and ethnography.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Delores

    wonderful and wholly depressing

  5. 4 out of 5

    edward

    Horrific hill country history written with an expert pen I never fully comprehended the meaning of, "I owe my soul to the company store" till reading this book. Although written in the 1960s, the stark reality of Kentucky's history and the iron clad grasp of corporate America upon its workers continues today.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    This is a very difficult book to read. It is dark but is a subject which we need to learn from. Our land and our citizens are interdependent and you can't abuse one without abusing the other. Hopefully the Cumberland plateau has begun recovering since the end of the book in the 1960s. America must help its own people develop even while helping foreign nations--if not before.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ark

    Fascinating history and still very relevant to issues today.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Albert Spaiches

    Well written history of the area and it's demise. Too bad the politician's of today haven't learned from history. Especially when it pertains to educating people.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Quolke

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gary D. Hawley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Van miller

  13. 5 out of 5

    Allison Palmiero

  14. 4 out of 5

    Claire

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sally Settle

  16. 5 out of 5

    Micki

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rosanne R. Madden

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  19. 4 out of 5

    C K Smith

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ed Hopkinson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  23. 4 out of 5

    Doug Quinn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Scalos

  25. 5 out of 5

    eric englund

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Eisenhauer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Shearon

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

  29. 5 out of 5

    jane vris

  30. 4 out of 5

    cindy

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