John M. Coggeshall, a white anthropology professor at Clemson University, made a tremendous contribution with his first book, Liberia South Carolina: An African American Appalachian Community. It was based on extensive interviews with those who live there. Now he has outdone himself. He has interviewed 47 white people and four African-Americans living in Pickens and Oconee Counties in South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. His quest is to figure out why their land - clearly not only majestic, but also menacing - means so much to Appalachian people. This book addresses the question: Why does their land have such an emotional hold on mountain people? “Something in These Hills is a laudable exploration of the culture and history of the southern Appalachians. Coggeshall unpacks the complicated connections between people and place that, as he often hears from his research participants, are hard to put into words; he provides an expository, story-filled approach to understanding sense of place."-Hope Amason. “A stunning book on the beauty and danger of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I don't know of another book that does what Something in These Hills has done: examine the cultural landscape of the Southern Appalachians through the lens of liminality, contestation, and transition."-Susan E. Keefe.
Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2022. 213 pages with photos, an Index, Sources Cited, Notes, and an Appendix of Informant Biographies. Trade paperback.