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The Road to Poverty
The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia

$53.99 (C)

  • Date Published: January 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521655460

$ 53.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Contains new local historical detail
    • Based upon the authors' meticulous archival research
    • Makes an important contribution to basic research on inequality
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Billings and Blee support their often fascinating and at times incredible report with a wealth of archival and contemporary data, grounded in a theoretically comprehensive and thoughtful analysis. Their book is a real eye opener for anyone who has ever wondered why Appalachia is, and has long been, so poor. It is also a rare case study of mostly white poverty with not an inner city in sight." Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University

    " ambitious history of an Appalachian county in order to understand `how places grow poor.' Skilled history from which interested readers and policy makers can learn much." Kirkus Reviews

    "...the Billings and Blee study is a careful and thoughtful one and an important addition to the literature." Journal of Economic History

    "An important contribution to the literature on the sourthern Appalachian region." Choice

    "Billings and Blee are courageous in their mixing of genres, and the payoffs are this careful empirical study of Appalachia, which will appeal to social theorists, and a social theory of Appalachia that will not alleviate historical sociologists." Jrnl of Interdisciplinary History

    "Billings and Blee have together researched and written a fine cultural and economic history of Clay County, Kentucky...The authors have certainly suceeded in bringing alive the nineteenth-century economic and cultural history of Clay County." EH.NET July 01

    "Road to Poverty is an extremely impressive book...It is a brilliant accomplishment that will have an impact far beyond Appalachian studies." Jrnl of Social History

    "In this important and valuable study of the origins of Appalachian poverty, Dwight B. Billings and Kathleen M. Blee use a variety of examine Clay County, Kentucky, over the course of the nineteenth century." American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2000
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521655460
    • length: 452 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 23 b/w illus. 5 maps 29 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of tables
    Preface and acknowledgments
    Part I. Public Policy and Historical Sociology:
    1. Introduction
    Part II. Antebellum Capitalist Markets:
    2. Fronier Kentucky in the capitalist world system
    3. Industry, commerce, and slaveholding
    Part III. Antebellum State Coercion:
    4. State making and the origins of elite conflict
    Part IV. Cultural Strategies:
    5. The patriarchal moral economy of agriculture
    6. Racial dynamics and the creation of poverty
    Part V. Postbellum Capitalist Markets and the Local State:
    7. From marginality to integration
    8. Feud violence
    9. Epilogue

  • Authors

    Dwight B. Billings, University of Kentucky

    Kathleen M. Blee, University of Pittsburgh

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