Parnassus Books welcomes Anthony Harkins, Meredith McCarroll, T.R.C. Hutton, and Ivy Brashear, contributors to Appalachian Reckoning.
With hundreds of thousands of copies sold, a Ron Howard movie in the works, and the rise of its author as a media personality, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis has defined Appalachia for much of the nation. What about Hillbilly Elegy accounts for this explosion of interest during this period of political turmoil? Why have its ideas raised so much controversy? And how can debates about the book catalyze new, more inclusive political agendas for the region’s future?
Appalachian Reckoning is a retort, at turns rigorous, critical, angry, and hopeful, to the long shadow Hillbilly Elegy has cast over the region and its imagining. But it also moves beyond Hillbilly Elegy to allow Appalachians from varied backgrounds to tell their own diverse and complex stories through an imaginative blend of scholarship, prose, poetry, and photography. The essays and creative work collected in Appalachian Reckoning provide a deeply personal portrait of a place that is at once culturally rich and economically distressed, unique and typically American. Complicating simplistic visions that associate the region almost exclusively with death and decay, Appalachian Reckoning makes clear Appalachia’s intellectual vitality, spiritual richness, and progressive possibilities.
Anthony Harkins is a professor of history at Western Kentucky University and author of Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon.
Meredith McCarroll is the director of writing and rhetoric at Bowdoin College and author of Unwhite: Appalachia, Race, and Film.
T.R.C. Hutton teaches History and American Studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and is the author Bloody Breathitt: Politics & Violence in the Appalachian South.
Ivy Brashear is is the Appalachian Transition Coordinator at the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development in Berea, Kentucky.