Dwight Billings is one of the premier Appalachian scholars. I do not know Kathleen M. Blee, but I think that was really smart to get a woman's perspective in on this effort! There was a man named James Brown - no not THAT James Brown - who was even more of an Appalachian Studies pioneer than Dwight. He started doing a long-range study of the people of Tegis Creek in Clay County, Kentucky, decades ago, and Dwight is following up on that treasure trove of scholarship. Is this book worthy of a decent publisher? How about Cambridge University Press? Yes, the one run by THAT British University. Here's what THEY have to say about this book - "Intended for social scientists, historians, and readers interested in social change and social poverty, this book examines the roots of entrenched poverty in Appalachia. It is both a social history of the creation of chronic poverty (and wealth) in Clay County, KY and an explication of how economic markets, cultural strategies, and the state interact to shape local society. By linking a longitudinal study of a single place to broader understandings of the historical development of the capitalist world system, this book contributes to policy discussions of the underlying causes of persistent rural poverty and reasons for the chronic failure of governmental programs to alleviate such poverty. In doing this study the authors have assembled probably the longest running set of longitudinal data currently available on an American rural population as well as the most extensive body of data available for a persistently poor community in the United States."
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 434 pages with an Index, Notes, Illustrations, Tables, and a Photo Essay. Trade paperback.