Peirce, a journalist, has already analyzed the political character of the deep South and the West. To cover Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, he interviewed a thousand people, and surveyed the regional background -- continuing low educational levels, slower migration out of the region, and the pattern of belated, semi-colonial industrialization. Peirce looks hard for ""progressive forces"" and finds them in the United Mine Workers, in the State Secretary of West Virginia, Jay Rockefeller, and in such regional development schemes as Luther Hodges Jr.'s Manpower Development Commission and the Appalachia Regional Council, a federal conduit. Peirce does try to include some criticism of ""regional development,"" which involves resettlement without advanced opportunities, as well as strip mining and other backward, destructive practices. His addendum on the TVA leaves the reader confusedly weighing the good and the bad. More valuable is his investigation of political machines and elections (like the Kefauver legend and the fall of the 75-year-old Byrd apparatus to the Republicans in 1969) and his focused, if dry, sense of the diversity of the region, from classic Appalachian shacks to cosmopolitan seaports.