Kirkus Star


Email this review


Seldom does the right book--the necessary, truly helpful, basic study--appear at the right time, when we are ready, willing, and able to make use of it. Thus Reverend Weller's picture of ""Life in Contemporary Appalachia"" is a valuable public acquisition. In the foreword he contributes to it, Harry M. Caudill prophecies that Yesterday's People is ""likely to take its place as an analytical work comparable to The Mind of the South by W. J. Cash."" Coming as it does from a man who himself has written a classic on the subject (Night Comes to the Cumberlands, 1963), this opinion carries weight, and even a casual perusal of the volume quickly bears it out. Caudill's book was an excellent investigation of the causes of the present conditions in Appalachia; Weller's is a brilliantly lucid, straightforward exposition of the state of mind created by those conditions. A minister serving the mountain people of West Virginia for thirteen years, Jack Weller set about to write the book that he himself needed and could not find when he first realized that he and his coworkers were accomplishing very little because they unwittingly were attempting ""to impose our own cultural assumptions on a people who did not share them."" In the simplest form and the plainest language possible, he has created an indispensable handbook for anyone who really hopes to understand and ultimately to help these charter members of the Other America.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1965
Publisher: Univ. of Kentucky Press