Montell organized his material according to the topics that dominated his tape-recorded conversations with residents of the area-farming, logging and rafting, steamboating, the Civil War-topics that the people themselves saw as important in their history. In reconstructing the past, the author also illuminates the relationship between geographic and economic factors in the region; the prolonged affects of a cataclysmic event, the Civil War, on the isolated area; and the impact of modernization, in the form of hard roads and cheap, TVA-supplied electricity, on the traditional ways of people.
First published in 1983, this book is now available in paperback for the first time. Included with this edition is a new foreword in which Montell and Mary Robbins, executive director of the Tennessee Upper Cumberland Tourism Association, describe changes in the area that have occured since the books initial appearance.
The Author: William Lynwood Montell, now retired, was coordinator of programs in folk and interculturual studies at Western Kentucky University. His numerous books include Ghosts along the Cumberland and The Saga of Coe Ridge.