Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers

Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880-1930

  • Author(s): Eller, Ronald D.
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1982-09-01
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $29.95 | Buy Now

Award for Outstanding Writing about Appalachia

An examination of the social and economic history of the Appalachian South from 1880 to 1930, describing the revolutionary changes in mountain life as the region was swept up in the American drive toward industrial maturity.

“The first systematic study of industrialization/modernization in Appalachia and the shape of the mountain economy since 1880. . . . it has been well worth the wait. A terrific book! A pleasure, a delight to read.”
–Henry D. Shapiro

“As a benchmark book should, this one will stimulate the imagination and industry of future researchers as well as wrapping up the results of the last two decades of research. . . . Eller’s greatest achievement results from his successful fusion of scholarly virtues with literary ones. The book is comprehensive, but not overlong. It is readable but not superficial. The reader who reads only one book in a lifetime on Appalachia cannot do better than to choose this one. . . . No one will be able to ignore it except those who refuse to confront the uncomfortable truths about American society and culture that Appalachia’s history conveys.”
–John A. Williams, Appalachian Journal

“Eller’s book is an effective combination of scholarly diligence and passionate concern for his native region. It raises some important questions about the study of Appalachian history and culture.”
–James C. Cobb,  Appalachian Journal

“. . . offers a thesis which can only appear revolutionary to generations of Americans nurtured on the myths and stereotypes about Appalachia. . . . The continuing poverty and misery characteristic of the region during the twentieth century, Eller argues, resulted not from ‘supposed inadequacies of a pathological culture’ which ill equipped mountain people for modern life, but rather from the actual process of modernization brought about by the rapid intrusion after 1880 of first the lumber barons and then coal mine operators.”
–Durwood Dunn, Tennessee Historical Quarterly

“[The book] is a sensitive analysis of five crucial decades in the Appalachian South’s history. Ultimately, it is a damning indictment of industrial capitalism. Eller, however, is no polemicist. He is a thorough historian who writes with enviable grace and whose work deserves a larger audience than that afforded by scholarly historical circles.”
Southern Exposure

“Attractively written and illustrated, this carefully researched study provides a provocative, fresh, and generally persuasive explanation for Appalachian poverty.”

“In this definitive history, Eller traces the chronic poverty of the region to the rise of industrialization between 1880 and 1930.”
Mother Jones, May/June 1999