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Yesterday's People: Life in Contemporary Appalachia by Jack E. Weller

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As the field of Appalachian Studies emerged, two contrasting explanations developed for the region's lack of economic development. One paradigm was the "culture of poverty" model and the other was the "internal colony" model - to put it bluntly, the first blamed the people of Appalachia, and the second blamed mainstream society. Yesterday's People became essentially a symbol of the "culture of poverty" explanation. The author, Jack Weller, was a Presbyterian Minister in Hazard and a nice man. He did a good job of contrasting the traditional way of life in the mountains with that of the mainstream American middle class. The book became a lightning rod for criticism partly because of its simplistic title - "yesterday" vs. "contemporary" and partly because Weller failed to make it clear that he wasn't simply an advocate for middle class mainstream ways.

Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1965. 163 pages with