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Posted July 6, 2002
A History of the Mountain State
¿West Virginia¿ is a fast reading introduction to the history of the Mountain State. Beginning with a brief section on the region from Revolutionary times, the book quickly moves on to the Civil War era which gave birth to West Virginia statehood. The Unionist sentiment in the Western part of Virginia resulted, in 1863, in the only case of succession of a portion of one state from another in American history. The Civil War in West Virginia is portrayed both in its military and political aspects. Williams tells the story of the evolution of West Virginia from the political, economic and social perspectives. The fabled Hatfield-MCcoy feud is given ample attention, as is the Hatfield who served his state as governor and United States Senator. In a state with an undistinguished political history, Williams introduces the reader to a series of governors, senators and political bosses who struggled with absentee landowners, rail and coal concerns and labor leaders to lead West Virginia through the 19th and 20th centuries. The story of West Virginia is a story of hope and despair, promise and danger, fulfillment and disappointment. Through it all Williams presents its story as a drama, partly heroic and partly tragic. Not a partisan Mountaineer booster, Williams tells the good with the bad. For anyone wishing to know the history of our country, state by state, this book fills in one piece of the American mosaic in a most pleasant fashion.
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