Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance [NOOK Book]

Overview


America’s most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate relative of “Devil Anse” Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoy’s daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoy’s sons killed Devil Anse Hatfield’s younger brother. Exacting vigilante revenge, a group of Hatfields ...
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Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance

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Overview


America’s most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate relative of “Devil Anse” Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoy’s daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoy’s sons killed Devil Anse Hatfield’s younger brother. Exacting vigilante revenge, a group of Hatfields tied them up and shot them dead. McCoy posses hijacked part of the Hatfield firing squad across state lines to stand trial, while those still free burned down Ranel McCoy’s cabin and shot two more of his children in a botched attempt to suppress the posses. Legal wrangling ensued until the US Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky could try the captured West Virginian Hatfields. Seven went to prison, and one, mentally disabled, yelled, “The Hatfields made me do it!” as he was hanged in the Bluegrass State’s last public execution. But the feud didn’t end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and to exact an onerous toll on the region itself.

With a charming voice, a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and an abiding gift for spinning a yarn, best-selling author Lisa Alther makes an impartial, comprehensive, and compelling investigation of what actually happened, masterfully setting the feud in its historical and cultural contexts, digging deep into the many causes and explanations of the fighting, and revealing surprising alliances and entanglements. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Alther is an expert on the subject of the feud."
Wall Street Journal

"A daughter of Appalachia delves into the tangle of fact and fiction and finds more to the story than forbidden love and a stolen hog."
American History magazine

"An exhaustively researched, well written, and beautifully produced volume. … Alther … has created an impressive document that considers not only the events of the feud and their consequences but the complex web of unique circumstances—historical, geo-political, psychological, educational, spiritual, and socioeconomic—that allowed the conflict to continue for so long."
Knoxville News Sentinel

"The Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky, history’s most famous feuding families, come to lurid life (and usually die unnatural deaths) in this well researched and finely written history. … It's wonderful, awful stuff, rife with ambushes, horrific murders of men, women, and children, revenge and betrayal, and void of anything resembling justice or mercy. But Alther goes beyond the bloody facts, showing how closely the feud was related to the Civil War and weaving in other context that shows how utterly American the feud was, and how it reverberates yet today, especially in Appalachia. All good, that, but the best part is tracking the bloodstained characters through their astounding, outrageous lives. Lots of photographs spice things up even more."
Star Tribune (Minneapolis–St. Paul)

"Alther's book is well researched … a fever dream of bloody revenge and forbidden romance deep in the mountains."
Lexington Herald

"Alther's deft command of style and her keen perceptions of the feelings beneath the facts makes this book a compelling read. It goes beyond supplying knowledge and provides understanding and a dash of wisdom on this complex phenomenon."
Appalachian Heritage

"Alther … tells the entire mind-numbing story. … Two factors in her book raise it above a tabloid retelling, one being the historical context she provides. … The other striking aspect of Blood Feud is subtler, dispiriting … but emerges clearly from her exposition of events: the practical value of unhesitating violence. It was the born killers, the ones unhampered by moral qualms or a belief in the legal system, who showed the highest survival rates."
Macleans

"Alther covers what she found in her research to be the events that really ignited the feud in 1865. … Another unique aspect of the book is that it is a narrative look at the feud that combines research with her personal feelings and connections to the feud. … It also touches on the implications of the feud and the long-term impact it has had on the Appalachian region."
KY Forward

“Alther has scoured newspaper reports, government records, oral histories, and family archives to pull from the slanted accounts details that flesh out her nonfiction characters.  ... She allows many currents to deepen her story without losing a sense of the fateful whole. Blood Feud joins a host of key paradigm-shifting books about mountain identity, including: Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers by Ronald Eller; and The Mind of the South by W. J. Cash. Alther’s personal connection classes her book also with great Appalachian memoirs, such as John O’Brien’s At Home in the Heart of Appalachia.”
The Read on WNC

"Alther puts a new spin on the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud."
Library Journal, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762785346
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/22/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 130,579
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author


Lisa Alther was born in the Appalachian town of Kingsport, Tennessee, and is the author of six bestselling novels, which have appeared in fifteen languages and sold over 6 million copies worldwide. Her father’s family is related by marriage to the Fighting McCoys.

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Read an Excerpt


A few days later, as Harmon McCoy was drawing water from the well in his yard, a bullet from the woods zinged past him. He ran inside, stuffed supplies into his saddlebags, grabbed his rifle, and limped up the hill to this cave, where he had been hiding out for several days now.

Standing at the mouth of the cave, his thirst sated, he started coughing. It was a dry hacking cough that didn’t let him catch his breath. He was freezing. At least at home he would have a chance of getting well before having to deal with the Wildcats again. He had spent this entire war either sick or injured—first his infected gunshot wounds, then his fractured leg, now pneumonia. What next?

He started down the path toward home, dragging his aching leg. Below him he spotted two men among the bare branches of the winter trees, their features indistinct in the forest gloom. As he threw aside his blanket and raised his rifle, gunshots sounded up the hill, and an explosion bloomed inside his chest.

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Table of Contents

Maps x

Introduction: Murderland xi

Part 1 Origins

1 The Path to Pikeville 3

2 Dark and Bloody Ground 11

3 Border States 30

Part 2 Avengement

4 Hog Trial 43

5 Montagues and Capulets of the Cumberlands 52

6 Pawpaw Murders 61

7 Devil Anse and the Hellhounds 72

8 New Year's Night Massacre 88

9 All Over but the Shouting 98

10 "The Hatfields Made Me Do It!" 111

Part 3 Aftermath

11 Survivors 125

12 Other Feuds 148

13 The Corsica of America 172

14 The Inner Hillbilly 195

15 Man Toys 216

Epilogue: The Hatfield-McCoy Industry 233

Acknowledgments 237

Appendix: "Green Are the Woods" Abner Vance 238

Endnotes 240

Selected Bibliography 270

Index 274

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2012

    All I have to say is, READ IT!!!! You will not be disappointed..

    All I have to say is, READ IT!!!! You will not be disappointed....

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    An admirable goal, but it falls far short. While the author sets

    An admirable goal, but it falls far short. While the author sets out
    promising to be "impartial," this book is anything but. Rather
    than an historical account of the "epic story," the author
    throws in unnecessary commentary that reveals an overwhelming bias in
    favor of the McCoy side of the feud. Unfortunately, a minority of the
    book is focused upon actually recounting the feud and the circumstances
    surrounding it. These elements appear to be well researched but the
    historical account contains little analysis. The latter portions of the
    book seem out-of-place given the book's title and subtitle, providing
    inchoate drive-by accounts of other family feuds in Kentucky and a
    rambling chapter which converts the book into a meager autobiography.
    The chapter on other feuds is sloppy and contains little references. For
    example, in one glaring mistake of history, the author refers to the
    assassination of Kentucky governor-elect "George Goebel." This
    was actually William Goebel. The lack of references for this section
    leads one to wonder what other historical inaccuracies are contained in
    the text. The author is clearly no historian. Overall, the chapters
    relating to the feud provide a decent overview of the conflict and
    events surrounding it, if one can look past the bias. The rest of the
    book is sloppy and unnecessary.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    Horrible!!!

    Huge disappointment. I doubt that even 70 pages were dedicated to the actual feud. The rest was all wasted filler. I felt cheated and ripped off. I will not spend another dime on this author.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 5, 2012

    Couldn't get past the first few pages ...

    I know it was a time when a full grasp of the English language was not at its finest in them parts ... but really? I found this book way too difficult to read with all of the "authentic" slang and poor communication skills of the characters... Good attempt to make it believable I suppose, but too challenging for me to get into.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    Rugged characters

    I enjoyed the book. After seeing the recent Hatfield & McCoy series on the History Channel I wanted to read the book to get an idea of how accurate the movie was. I usually trust books to be more accurate than anything Hollywood creates. There were some inconsistencies, but overall the series appears to be somewhat accurate.

    I read this on my NOOK Book and my main complaint is that the NOOK Book did not include a Family Tree. I guess the regular book does so that is something you may want to consider if you decide to purchase the book. Both families were large and extensive so I lost track of the exact family association with some of the characters. A Family Tree for both families really would have been helpful.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 14, 2012

    Very interesting book. I actually found the discussion about th

    Very interesting book. I actually found the discussion about the culture of violence to be the most compelling portion of the book. More than a story about two families.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good Impartial Account

    This book is a well written and easy to read account of the Hatfield and McCoy family conflicts. The author is impartial and represents each side without bias. The author also relates many other interesting issues that may have contributed to the differences between the two families and how these factors probably escalated the violence. A good source for anyone wanting a good unbiased account of the story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Author clearly has an axe to grind

    This book was very entertaining. At the beginning of the book the author says they want to find out what actually happen & not lay blame at this late date. However it's clear she has made up her mind & you can feel the disgust she has for the Hatfields in her writing. I'm not saying the hatfields weren't to blame or that the McCoys were just that the author is convinced the McCoys were the victims, and lays very little fault at their feet. If your looking for an unbiased study of this feud this isn't the book, if it's great tales of this era your after then enjoy. I really did enjoy this book, just wished it was more interested in giving the reader the choice to come to their own conclusion.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Very interesting!

    The style meanders a bit, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned much. Lisa's book is well-researched, personal, and impartial. Good context and analysis of the fued and its aftermath. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    Confused?

    Very interesting content. I got lost several times when the author went through relatives and decendants. This is pretty bad on more than one occasion.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Good read.

    Eye opening. Hadn't heard much about it in school, but heard about it in legend. This book was informative about this particular part of American history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2012

    Quick Read

    This book is a good account of information handed down a generation. I think it was important to document that information. The book is tough to follow as it talks about all the individuals in each chapter. I guess that’s why it comes with family tree in the dust cover? The best part for me was the other feuds that are covered in the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Terrific

    I read this book after the History Channel trilogy to see how close to real the TV series was...and it not only confirmed the TV portrayal but expanded on the personalities and story line. Greatly recommended!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2012

    Good historical info

    The information was good, but, the content was hard to follow. Too many characters had the same names. It was confusing for a casual read. Had to really stay focused

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    Good Read!

    It was difficult to keep track of the characters but that is to be expected. The author is a McCoy descendant and half way through the book her bias seemed to show. In all a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2012

    The book was very interesting. I liked the fact that she brough

    The book was very interesting. I liked the fact that she brought out other feuds that were as bad or worse than the H & M feud. Not the authors fault that the relationships of relatives and decendants was so confusing and involved that is just the way it is.

    Did reread some sections because of the confusion.

    But it also brought out the fact that not all of this are was populated with people that were voilent and I liked the "got your goat" remark. Any one who reads this book will like the facts that seam to to be accurate f\based on all the references she provides.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    Haven't read it yet but the description needs a literate writer.

    Haven't read it yet but the description needs a literate writer. Posses? It's a POSSE.  POSSE.  Western history.  Geez! 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Blood Feud is a good, but not definitive, account of the Hatfiel

    Blood Feud is a good, but not definitive, account of the Hatfield-McCoy conflict. Lisa Alther spends nearly half of the book on the culture of the area. Some of her premises about the inhabitants of the Appalachians seem like easy generalities. She includes a lot of footnotes from other books but she did not do much deep research in original sources or develop new ones. This book is an OK starting place, but I suspect there is more to the story. 2 1/2 stars(This review is of the hardcover.)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    no

    Do not like

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Good book-Highly recommend.

    Great to learn about the feud in such a way from the author. Very insightful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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