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Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, eds.

Appalachian Reckoning

A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy

West Virginia University Press 2019

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in AnthropologyNew Books in GeographyNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network May 27, 2019 Michael O. Johnston

Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (West Virginia University Press, 2019) is a retort, at turn rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to...

Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (West Virginia University Press, 2019) is a retort, at turn rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has cast over the region and its imagining. Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll use this anthology as an opportunity for Appalachians from varied backgrounds to move beyond Hillbilly Elegy and reveal their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative works found in this anthology provide a personal portrait of a place that has a unique, rich culture that is usually portrayed as economically distressed and almost always American. Harkins and McCarroll clash with the overly simplistic narratives too often told about the people of the Appalachian region. The region is not a place where people are destined down a path of death, destruction, and decay. Harkin and McCarroll make clear in Appalachian Reckoning that this region is intellectually vital, spiritually rich, and progressive.

Anthony Harkins, Ph.D. is a professor of history at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he teaches courses in popular culture and twentieth-century United States history and American studies. He is the author of Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon.

Meredith McCarroll, Ph.D. is the director of writing and rhetoric at Bowdoin College, where she teaches courses in writing, American literature, and film. She is the author of Unwhite: Appalachia, Race, and Film.


Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is currently conducting research on the continuous process that occurs with placemaking at farmers’ market.