Waller, Altina L.,
FEUD: Hatfields, McCoys, and Social Change in Appalachia,
. NEW copy, trade PAPERBACK.
(University of North Carolina Press, 1988).
~~~ From Publishers Weekly: The now legendary Hatfield-McCoy feud has served as America's answer to Romeo
and Juliet for over a century. In this insightful work, Waller, a history
professor at SUNY-Plattsburgh, debunks assumptions that a blighted romance or
strong family ties were central to the hostilities. She convincingly argues that
the feud operated on several levels: as a clash between an emerging national
industrial culture, whose proponents, for reasons of self-aggrandizement, allied
themselves with the McCoys, and the autonomous and local mountain culture that
the Hatfields embodied; between the south and the north; and between the states
of Kentucky and West Virginia. In the process, Waller demonstrates how and why
Hatfield-McCoy myths arose and how stereotypes of the feud "consigned the
mountaineers to the unreal world of savagery . . . and industrialization . . .
could proceed much more smoothly. Demographic data unfold dramatically, and,
utilizing eclectic sources, she illuminates both the era and the complex cast of
characters involved in the 12-year feud (her portrait of leader "Devil Anse"
Hatfield is particularly sensitive). A pictorial essay adds another dimension to
an already rich piece of scholarship. While Waller's study is invaluable for
Americanists, she has written an engaging work that, quite simply, is an