Ramp Hollow

Ramp Hollow

The Ordeal of Appalachia

Book - 2017
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How the United States underdeveloped AppalachiaAppalachia--among the most storied and yet least understood regions in America--has long been associated with poverty and backwardness. But how did this image arise and what exactly does it mean? In Ramp Hollow, Steven Stoll launches an original investigation into the history of Appalachia and its place in U.S. history, with a special emphasis on how generations of its inhabitants lived, worked, survived, and depended on natural resources held in common.Ramp Hollow traces the rise of the Appalachian homestead and how its self-sufficiency resisted dependence on money and the industrial society arising elsewhere in the United States--until, beginning in the nineteenth century, extractive industries kicked off a "scramble for Appalachia" that left struggling homesteaders dispossessed of their land. As the men disappeared into coal mines and timber camps, and their families moved into shantytowns or deeper into the mountains, the commons of Appalachia were, in effect, enclosed, and the fate of the region was sealed.Ramp Hollow takes a provocative look at Appalachia, and the workings of dispossession around the world, by upending our notions about progress and development. Stoll ranges widely from literature to history to economics in order to expose a devastating process whose repercussions we still feel today.
Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2017
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780809095056
080909505X
9781429946971
Characteristics: xviii, 410 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

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bwrogers
Feb 04, 2019

An absolutely essential look into the political, economic, and literary history of Appalachia. Stoll dives deep into a complex web of changing ownership patterns and representations of Appalachian life to emerge with a well-supported conclusion about the nature of economic life in the region. He narrates a continuing struggle between the tenants of the land and those who would turn them into their servants. Connecting the history with struggles from 16th century England to 21st century Mali, he paints a vivid picture of the world-historic role of the peasantry against encroaching capitalist forces across the globe.

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workhorse6491
Jan 11, 2018

The author is quite knowledgeable, maybe too much so. Essentially, he says the tragedy of Appalachia is that of property theft. However, he belabors the point (e.g. review of early history of political-economists, the entire history of the British enclosures period??) that I still haven't reached the book's halfway point. His connections and 'proofs' could have been more succinct. And so I probably will turn this book back before finishing; it's turning my brain to coal-colored Jello.

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