Gift Guide

Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 75%)
Est. Return Date: 01/25/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 32%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $11.01
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 60%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $11.01   
  • New (6) from $21.95   
  • Used (10) from $11.01   


Appalachia has long been stereotyped as a region of feuds, moonshine stills, mine wars, environmental destruction, joblessness, and hopelessness. Robert Schenkkan's 1992 Pulitzer-Prize winning play The Kentucky Cycle once again adopted these stereotypes, recasting the American myth as a story of repeated failure and poverty--the failure of the American spirit and the poverty of the American soul. Dismayed by national critics' lack of attention to the negative depictions of mountain people in the play, a group of Appalachian scholars rallied against the stereotypical representations of the region's people. In Back Talk from Appalachia , these writers talk back to the American mainstream, confronting head-on those who view their home region one-dimensionally. The essays, written by historians, literary scholars, sociologists, creative writers, and activists, provide a variety of responses. Some examine the sources of Appalachian mythology in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature. Others reveal personal experiences and examples of grassroots activism that confound and contradict accepted images of ""hillbillies."" The volume ends with a series of critiques aimed directly at The Kentucky Cycle and similar contemporary works that highlight the sociological, political, and cultural assumptions about Appalachia fueling today's false stereotypes.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

A collection of twenty-one essays refuting stereotypes of Appalachian peoples as back roads hillbillies living lives of homelessness, ignorance and inhumanity. Sources of the formation of these ideas are examined, particularly nineteenth and twentieth century literature. Culminates in four articles rebutting the image of Appalachians presented in the Pulitzer Prize winning play, . Essays range from academic to personal. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"A book that attempts to do a lot, and succeeds on the whole." — Mountain Eagle

"Now we have this thought-provoking collection of essays of the country we northerners knew so little about." — Oakland (MI) Press

"The essays, which share the goal of refuting the ongoing stereotyping of the region, are written from a variety of perspectives — anthropologists, sociologists, fiction writers, historians, health care activists, political scientists, to name a few." — Ohioana Quarterly

"Poring through the book's pages, readers, Appalachian readers especially, will experience a wide range of reactions — anger, humor and pride foremost among them." — Paintsville Herald

"Containing essays written by some of the region's leading scholars, activists, and artists — the list of contributors itself testifies to the creativity of the people in the region and to the contributions Appalachians have made to the nation." — Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"These important, provocative essays are an outstanding contribution to Appalachian studies scholarship, but they are also quite accessible to non-specialists." — Tennessee Librarian

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813190013
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xii
I. (Re) Introducing Appalachia: Talking Back to Stereotypes
Introduction 3
Beyond Isolation and Homogeneity: Diversity and the History of Appalachia 21
II. Speaking of "Hillbillies": Literary Sources of Contemporary Stereotypes
A Landscape and a People Set Apart: Narratives of Exploration and Travel in Early Appalachia 47
"Deadened Color and Colder Horror": Rebecca Harding Davis and the Myth of Unionist Appalachia 67
The Racial "Innocence" of Appalachia: William Faulkner and the Mountain South 85
A Judicious Combination of Incident and Psychology: John Fox Jr. and the Southern Mountaineer Motif 98
Where "Bloodshed Is a Pastime": Mountain Feuds and Appalachian Stereotyping 119
Where Did Hillbillies Come From? Tracing Sources of the Comic Hillbilly Fool in Literature 138
III. Speaking More Personally: Responses to Appalachian Stereotypes
The "R" Word: What's So Funny (and Not So Funny) about Redneck Jokes 153
Appalachian Images: A Personal History 161
Up in the Country 174
On Being "Country": One Affrilachian Woman's Return Home 184
Appalachian Stepchild 187
If There's One Thing You Can Tell Them, It's that You're Free 191
IV. Sometimes Actions Speak Louder than Words: Activism in Appalachia
The Grass Roots Speak Back 203
Miners Talk Back: Labor Activism in Southeastern Kentucky in 1922 215
Coalfield Women Making History 228
Paving the Way: Urban Organizations and the Image of Appalachians 251
Stories of AIDS in Appalachia 267
V. Recycling Old Stereotypes: Critical Responses to The Kentucky Cycle
America Needs Hillbillies: The Case of The Kentucky Cycle 283
The View from the Castle: Reflections on the Kentucky Cycle Phenomenon 300
Regional Consciousness and Political Imagination: The Appalachian Connection in an Anxious Nation 313
Notes on The Kentucky Cycle 327
Contributors 333
Index 336
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)