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The Resource Ramp Hollow : the ordeal of Appalachia, Steven Stoll

Ramp Hollow : the ordeal of Appalachia, Steven Stoll

Label
Ramp Hollow : the ordeal of Appalachia
Title
Ramp Hollow
Title remainder
the ordeal of Appalachia
Statement of responsibility
Steven Stoll
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
  • Steven Stoll offers a fresh, provocative account of Appalachia, from the earliest European settlers, through crucial episodes such as the Whiskey Rebellion and the founding of West Virginia, and the arrival of timber and coal companies that set off a devastating "scramble for Appalachia."--
  • "In Ramp Hollow, Steven Stoll offers a fresh, provocative account of Appalachia, and why it matters. He begins with the earliest European settlers, whose desire for vast forests to hunt in was frustrated by absentee owners--including George Washington and other founders--who laid claim to the region. Even as Daniel Boone became famous as a backwoods hunter and guide, the economy he represented was already in peril. Within just a few decades, Appalachian hunters and farmers went from pioneers to pariahs, from heroes to hillbillies, in the national imagination, and the area was locked into an enduring association with poverty and backwardness. Stoll traces these developments with empathy and precision, examining crucial episodes such as the Whiskey Rebellion, the founding of West Virginia, and the arrival of timber and coal companies that set off a devastating "scramble for Appalachia." At the center of Ramp Hollow is Stoll's sensitive portrayal of Appalachian homesteads. Perched upon ridges and tucked into hollows, they combined small-scale farming and gardening with expansive foraging and hunting, along with distilling and trading, to achieve self-sufficiency and resist the dependence on cash and credit arising elsewhere in the United States. But the industrialization of the mountains shattered the ecological balance that sustained the households. Ramp Hollow recasts the story of Appalachia as a complex struggle between mountaineers and profit-seeking forces from outside the region. Drawing powerful connections between Appalachia and other agrarian societies around the world, Stoll demonstrates the vitality of a peasant way of life that mixes farming with commerce but is not dominated by a market mind-set. His original investigation, ranging widely from history to literature, art, and economics, questions our assumptions about progress and development, and exposes the devastating legacy of dispossession and its repercussions today." -- Publisher's description
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Reviewed by Sarah Jones
			Appalachia is many things, depending on whom you ask. Observers have at various points christened it the other America, the land outside time, and, more recently, Trump country. But for many of us, it is simply home, and we don’t recognize much of it from its media portrayals. We know it as an uneasy and lovely place, shaped by addiction and ecological degradation and a history of open class war. But these complications rarely make it into media coverage. 
			Appalachia seems to matter little to outsiders unless it is an election year or time for one of Remote Area Medical’s free clinics, when photographers and journalists who otherwise never step foot in the area swarm to document the spectacle of its poverty. J.D. Vance’s popular Hillbilly Elegy only reinforced this image of Appalachia as a dysfunctional place, doomed by its own bloody intransigence.
			But poverty is not a cultural problem, in Appalachia and elsewhere. It is a problem of power, defined by who has it and who does not. Stoll (The Great Delusion), a professor of history at Fordham University, examines this issue exhaustively, fixing a genealogy of Appalachian poverty that places the problem in its proper political and historical context. Stoll identifies it, correctly, as a consequence of dispossession. By giving it a distinct pedigree, he helps readers understand why Appalachia became poor and why it has stayed that way for so long. 
			“The way back to Appalachia leads through the history of capitalism in Great Britain,” Stoll writes. Capitalism is the specter haunting Appalachia. Stoll focuses specifically on the practice of enclosure, employed first by England’s feudal lords to establish the concept of private property. Victorian England’s moralists favored the practice and, later, so did American tycoons and corporations, who used it to gain access to Appalachia’s natural resources. The region’s coal and timber made it valuable. Now the free market is moving on, leaving an exsanguinated corpse behind. 
			Stoll is not the first academic to attribute Appalachian poverty to the influence of external forces. But his work is distinct in its emphasis on the practice of enclosure and his decision to connect Appalachia’s dispossession to the material dispossessions whites inflicted on freed slaves and that empires and transnational conglomerates later inflicted on colonial and postcolonial nations. Though Appalachia’s “development” lacks the racialized aspect present in the latter two examples, a thread connects each: the idea that capitalism is a civilizing force. 
			Stoll’s is an academic work, but that should not deter readers. He is an appealing writer. The book’s most significant flaw occurs late in its final third, when he veers sharply from analysis to commentary. Even so, it is a minor issue. Stoll’s insights on how Appalachia became what it is today are an important corrective to flawed commentary about a much-maligned place. (Nov.)
			Sarah Jones is a staff writer for the New Republic, where she covers politics and culture. --Staff (Reviewed 09/04/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 36, p)
  • Stoll (Fordham Univ., The Great Delusion) examines the journey of the residents of the southern Appalachian mountain region, from subsistence farmers to employees of mills and coal mines, who lost their land and their autonomy in the process. The author also looks at the story of Appalachia in the context of the larger histories of labor and industrialization, and presents a broad history of capitalism and dispossession, beginning with the enclosure of common land in England in the 18th century. In a wide-ranging narrative, this chronicle touches on many aspects of the region, including the Whiskey Rebellion, the founding of West Virginia, and even the origins of the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. Stoll closes with a recommendation, presenting a proposal for "Commons Communities" as a way of restoring areas ravaged by coal mining through communal farming and governance. This is not a regional history. Rather, Stoll uses selected examples from Appalachia's past to argue that the move from subsistence farming to wage work is one from independence to dependence, bringing not progress but despair. VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in U.S. economic history or the history of labor.—Nicholas Graham, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill --Nicholas Graham (Reviewed 10/15/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 17, p94)
  • A searching economic and political history of a dispossessed, impoverished Appalachia that progress has long eluded.Alexis de Tocqueville may have insisted that there are no peasants in America, but Stoll (History/Fordham Univ.; The Great Delusion: A Mad Inventor, Death in the Tropics, and the Utopian Origins of Economic Growth, 2008, etc.) finds the term "a perfectly good word to describe a country person." Moreover, as refugees from the enclosures of feudal and early modern Europe, the free "peasants" of Appalachia were able to find land—even if seized from others—and channel their own energies into whatever work they saw fit. That was early on, however. Following the incursions of the extractive industries of logging and mining, those free people suddenly were landless, essentially the property of the company. Stoll notes that the story of Appalachia is very much the story of world systems, with the region "fully part of an Atlantic and global expansion of capitalism." In that winner-take-all system, places like the titular Ramp Hollow, a hamlet outside of Morgantown, West Virginia, that hosted a once-profitable coal seam, are used up and then abandoned. So are their people, as the log cabins of mountain dwellers gave way to tar-paper shanties, "just as a free and robust set of subsistence practices gave way to impoverishing wage labor." Stoll's resonant critique of capitalism takes many turns, examining the corn economy here and the money economy there as well as the backyard company-town garden as a free ride for the company, the rise and fall of agrarianism, and many other topics. The author closes with a friendly but pointed critique of J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy as blaming the victim for systemic failures, even as dispossession has served others "as an instrument of control, not a sign of progress." Which is better, cornfields or clean coal? Stoll's sharp book complicates our understanding of a much-misunderstood, much-maligned region that deserves better than it has received.(Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2017)
Assigning source
Adapted from book jacket
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10603494
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Stoll, Steven
Dewey number
333.3/174
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
  • plates
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Land tenure
  • Mountain people
  • Farmers
  • Economic history
  • Farmers
  • Land tenure
  • Mountain people
  • Social conditions
  • Appalachian Region
  • Appalachian Region
  • Appalachian Region
  • Appalachian Region
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the ordeal of Appalachia
Label
Ramp Hollow : the ordeal of Appalachia, Steven Stoll
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [343]-385) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Contemporary ancestors: from Daniel Boone to Hill-Billy -- Provision grounds: on capitalism and the Atlantic peasantry -- The Rye Rebellion: why Alexander Hamilton invaded the mountains -- Mountaineers are always free: on losing land and livelihood -- Interlude: Agrarian twilight: the art of dispossession -- The captured garden: subsistence under industrial capitalism -- Negotiated settlements: the fate of the commons and the commoners
Control code
1899042
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xviii, 410 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates
Isbn
9780809095056
Lccn
2017017082
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780809095056
  • (OCoLC)1004206289
Label
Ramp Hollow : the ordeal of Appalachia, Steven Stoll
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [343]-385) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Contemporary ancestors: from Daniel Boone to Hill-Billy -- Provision grounds: on capitalism and the Atlantic peasantry -- The Rye Rebellion: why Alexander Hamilton invaded the mountains -- Mountaineers are always free: on losing land and livelihood -- Interlude: Agrarian twilight: the art of dispossession -- The captured garden: subsistence under industrial capitalism -- Negotiated settlements: the fate of the commons and the commoners
Control code
1899042
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xviii, 410 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates
Isbn
9780809095056
Lccn
2017017082
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780809095056
  • (OCoLC)1004206289

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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