Few, if any, books are more key to the whole field of Appalachian Studies. As the field of Appalachian Studies emerged, inspired by the establishment of African-American Studies, a sharp division developed between those who viewed the region's poverty as a manifestation of "the culture of poverty," and those who viewed it as a result of the region being exploited as an internal American colony. Arguably the book that was most identified as a symbol of the "culture of poverty" argument was Yesterday's People: Life in Contemporary Appalachia by Jack E. Weller. This book brought the internal colony argument most clearly in view. Helen Matthews Lewis, the lead author, is not only the subject of a biography, herself, but the person for whom the Appalachian Studies Association Service Award is named! Two fascinating dimensions of this book - one of the chapters is written by Jack Weller, and the last two chapters settle in on the paradigm of Appalachia as a peripheral region, something that Rodger Cunningham developed much further in his book, Apples on the Flood: The Southern Mountain Experience (1987) and which has become the widely accepted synthesis.
Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1978. 370 pages with Suggestions for Further Reading and Research and photos.