Southern West Virginia and the Struggle for Modernity


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About the Book

This work addresses how southern West Virginia’s complex and often chaotic history still impacts key aspects of modern-day life for Mountaineers. At its center are fundamental elements of late 19th and early 20th century Appalachian existence such as the predominance of subsistence farming, the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of company towns, growing coal company influence, and the resultant expansion of political corruption. It examines how the region’s Appalachian culture and identity have adapted to and been affected by these factors as well as how stereotypical perceptions held by those outside the region have created both opportunities and barriers to modernization for southern West Virginians.

About the Author(s)

Christopher Dorsey is an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Bibliographic Details

Christopher Dorsey

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, 26 charts and tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6049-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8580-2
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Introduction      1

1. The Rediscovery of Appalachia and the Coming of Industrialization      13
2. Life and Death in the Early Company Towns      31
3. The Coming of the Unions and the Paint Creek–Cabin Creek Strike      47
4. Profiles in Corruption and Failed Government: The Matewan Massacre and the Battle for Blair Mountain      62
5. FDR’s Legacy: The Great Depression and Continuing Problems with Public Welfare, Agriculture, and Unemployment      73
6. Health and the Mountaineer: Perspectives on Public and Occupational Health      105
7. Democracy Lost: Political Corruption and the Impact on Political Involvement      120
8. Culture, Identity, and Modernization      136
9. Mountaintop Removal and the Battle for Hearts and Minds      158

Conclusion      183
Chapter Notes      189
Bibliography      205
Index      215