Rodger Cunningham is one of the brightest and most accomplished scholars of our region. No other book about our region takes us back more centuries! It can easily be argued that this book had a greater influence on Appalachian Studies than any other book before or since. Before this book came out, regional scholars were pretty much divided into two warring camps - the "Culture of Poverty" people and the "Internal Colony" people - one group blamed the lifestyle of poor people for their poverty, and the other group blaming the political and economic mainstream both in the mountains and beyond. This book essentially takes the experience of the people of the mountains back a few centuries with the Celtic people of Great Britain. And it shows how the metropolitan people of England and subsequently of America used the mountain people as a buffer against people they considered even more primitive - the Irish and the Native Americans. Rodger's paradigm illuminates mountain people as peripheral people, an explanation that and avoids excessive blaming.
Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1987.214 pages with an index, Bibliography, Notes, and Maps. Hardback in dust jacket.