KENTUCKY: LAND OF CONTRAST by Thomas D. Clark

KENTUCKY: LAND OF CONTRAST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Provincialism and stubborn local tradition have always been the source of Kentucky's charm, as well as the cause of many of her socio-economic problems. From the creek hollows in the eastern mountains with their one-mule farms and doghole coal mines to the sweeping bluegrass and tobacco in the western counties, self-reliance, xenophobia, and an almost oriental regard for one's ancestors ranked as the highest virtues. The mechanization of agriculture and the downfall of King Coal have changed all that: television and superhighways have deprived the Kentuckian of his isolation as brutally as the strip miners have shorn the hills of their cover. The tourist trade, welfare status, or emigration to big-city slums are for many the only choices. So runs Mr. Clark's tale, which by now should be a familiar one. The book's chief claim to our attention derives from the lack of recent studies of the state as a whole, from bluegrass to Appalachia, including the compounded growth of urban difficulties. One demerit is the book's blandness of approach; by comparison. Harry Caudill's Classic Night Comes to the Cumberland (1963) remains, in Clark's words, ""enormously provocative."" However, this is a readable contribution with solid reference value.

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1967
Publisher: Harper & Row