Suggested Reading List
The Cherokee Nation and The Trail of Tears
Author: Theda Perdue & Michael Green
Description: Today, a fraction of the Cherokee people remains in their traditional homeland in the southern Appalachians. Most Cherokees were forcibly relocated to eastern Oklahoma in the early nineteenth century. In 1830 the U.S. government shifted its policy from one of trying to assimilate American Indians to one of relocating them and proceeded to drive seventeen thousand Cherokee people west of the Mississippi.
The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears recounts this moment in American history and considers its impact on the Cherokee, on U.S.-Indian relations, and on contemporary society. Guggenheim Fellowship-winning historian Theda Perdue and coauthor Michael D. Green explain the various and sometimes competing interests that resulted in the Cherokee's expulsion, follow the exiles along the Trail of Tears, and chronicle their difficult years in the West after removal.
Appalachia: A History
Author: John Williams
Description: Interweaving social, political, environmental, economic, and popular history, John Alexander Williams chronicles four and a half centuries of the Appalachian past. Along the way, he explores Appalachia's long-contested boundaries and the numerous, often contradictory images that have shaped perceptions of the region as both the essence of America and a place apart.
Williams begins his story in the colonial era and describes the half-century of bloody warfare as migrants from Europe and their American-born offspring fought and eventually displaced Appalachia's Native American inhabitants. He depicts the evolution of a backwoods farm-and-forest society, its divided and unhappy fate during the Civil War, and the emergence of a new industrial order as railroads, towns, and extractive industries penetrated deeper and deeper into the mountains. Finally, he considers Appalachia's fate in the twentieth century, when it became the first American region to suffer widespread deindustrialization, and examines the partial renewal created by federal intervention and a small but significant wave of in-migration. Throughout the book, a wide range of Appalachian voices enlivens the analysis and reminds us of the importance of storytelling in the ways the people of Appalachia define themselves and their region.
Southern Railways Murphy Branch
Author: Michael George
Description: The Southern Railway was a branchline of the Louisville & Nashville. This is the story of this mountain railroad's Murphy Branch. Full of pictures.
The Southern Highlander and His Homeland
Author: John C. Cambell
Description: In 1908 John C. Campbell was commissioned by the Russell Sage Foundation to conduct a survey of conditions in Appalachia and the aid work being done in these areas to create "the central repository of data concerning conditions in the mountains to which workers in the field might turn." Originally published in 1921, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland details Campbell's experiences and findings during his travels in the region, observing unique aspects of mountain communities such as their religion, family life, and forms of entertainment. Campbell's landmark work paved the way for folk schools, agricultural cooperatives, handicraft guilds, the frontier nursing service, better roads, and a sense of pride in mountain life -- the very roots of Appalachian preservation.
A Walk In The Woods
Author: Bill Bryson
Description: Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature.