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Extended Audio Sample The Hatfields and the McCoys, by Otis K. Rice Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (73 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Otis K. Rice Narrator: Dick Hill Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Otis K. Rice, coauthor of West Virginia: A History, sheds new light on the most famous vendetta of the southern Appalachians.

The Hatfield-McCoy feud has long been the most famous vendetta of the southern Appalachians. Over the years it has become encrusted with myth and error. Scores of writers have produced accounts of it, but few have made any real effort to separate fact from fiction. Novelists, motion picture producers, television script writers, and others have sensationalized events that needed no embellishment.

Using court records, public documents, official correspondence, and other documentary evidence, Otis K. Rice presents an account that frees, as much as possible, fact from fiction, event from legend. He weighs the evidence carefully, avoiding the partisanship and the attitude of condescension and condemnation that have characterized many of the writings concerning the feud.

He sets the feud in the social, political, economic, and cultural context of eastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By examining the legacy of the Civil War, the weakness of institutions such as the church and education system, the exaggerated importance of family, the impotence of the law, and the isolation of the mountain folk, Rice gives new meaning to the origins and progress of the feud. These conditions help explain why the Hatfield and McCoy families, which have produced so many fine citizens, could engage in such a bitter and prolonged vendetta.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The participants in this unique drama are unforgettable. Without a doubt, the Hatfield-McCoy feud will reign supreme as the most fascinating vendetta on the American scene…A captivating account of two families whose stubbornness and loyalty were exceeded only by their capacity for a terrible revenge.”

    Southern Living

  • “A model of journalistic history…it amounts to two hours of instructive reading that is more engaging than most of the novels being published these days.”

    Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky)

  • “Rich, dramatic material.”

    Southern Quarterly

  • “This lean and judicious little book represents the first serious scholarly attempt to sort out truth from myth in the Hatfield-McCoy feud…The author is a careful and steady craftsman, and this work easily sets for its subject the new standard—one that needs emulating in light of our national rogues’ gallery of violent hero-villains.”

    Journal of American History

  • “The best published account of the history of this complex and fascinating feud.”

    Ohio History

  • “An engrossing account of the Appalachian feud that has become a part of the folk history of America.”

    Ashland Independent (Kentucky)

  • “Dick Hill offers an engaging reading. His tone and accent are exactly right. He comes across like an Appalachian who knows when to get out of the way of the story. Yet he carries the passages of history and social science with a reserved, almost studied, air.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Denise | 9/17/2013

    " I am a hatfield and I'm surprised it took so long for me to get interested In this part of history.i really enjoyed this book.ive got another in devil anse to read.this book was pretty awesome.would recommend to anyone interested in this type of thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pam | 8/23/2013

    " Seems to be well-researched and documented history of the feud. Some parts of the book kind of dragged, but overall it was a good review of the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Scott | 7/28/2013

    " Really great versions of the Hatfield-McCoy saga from different persepctives... The book is loaded with great photos and details. My wife bought it for me after the TNT/Costner movie came out. Great summer read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Danette | 6/4/2013

    " "Very short, very dry. After watching the series on the History Channel, I thought there would be more to the book but it was a "just the facts, ma'am" kind of book. Don't bother." "

  • > Show All
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About the Author

Otis K. Rice (1919–2003) was one of the most recognized scholars in the field of West Virginia history. His many contributions to the scholarly study of West Virginia received formal recognition in 2003 when he became the state’s first Historian Laureate. He was author or coauthor of several published works, including West Virginia: A History, The Mountain State: An Introduction to West Virginia, and Frontier Kentucky. A former professor, he served at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology for many years, chaired the history department from 1962 to 1984, and served as dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences from 1984 to 1997.