View Gallery


The United States of Appalachia

How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America

List Price: $17.95

March 1, 2007 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 256 Pages | ISBN 9781593761516
Order Now From Indiebound

"Jeff Biggers’ inspiring book should be a bestseller immediately... Read it and your faltering hopes will rise." —Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good War

Few places in the United States confound and fascinate Americans like Appalachia, yet no other area has been so markedly mischaracterized by the mass media. Stereotypes of hillbillies and rednecks repeatedly appear in representations of the region, but few, if any, of its many heroes, visionaries, or innovators are ever referenced.

Make no mistake, they are legion: from Anne Royall, America’s first female muckraker, to Sequoyah, a Cherokee mountaineer who invented the first syllabary in modern times, and international divas Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, as well as writers Cormac McCarthy, Edward Abbey, and Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck, Appalachia has contributed mightily to American culture—and politics. Not only did eastern Tennessee boast the country’s first antislavery newspaper, Appalachians also established the first District of Washington as a bold counterpoint to British rule. With humor, intelligence, and clarity, Jeff Biggers reminds us how Appalachians have defined and shaped the United States we know today.

JEFF BIGGERS has worked as a writer, radio correspondent, and educator across the United States, Europe, India, and Mexico. His award-winning stories and programs have aired on NPR and PRI and have appeared in various magazines and newspapers. Author of In the Sierra Madre, he also coedited No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems of Don West, which won an American Book Award.


“Jeff Biggers’s inspiring book should be a bestseller immediately. It is a “how-to” book—how to assert your fundamental rights and how to speak out in the manner of the American Revolution footsloggers, whose descendants they are. Read it and your faltering hopes will rise.” —Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good War

“Jeff Biggers opens a new window on the complex history of the region called Appalachia. He takes a hard but affectionate look at both the myths and the facts, and what he finds is by turns sobering and thrilling. Drawing on the contradictions, layers, and range of what is known as mountain culture, he shows that nothing is quite what it seems, and that to understand American history it is essential to know Appalachian history. Biggers tells his story with verve and vivid detail, a story that will at once provoke and inspire.” —Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Brave Enemies

Related Products