Celebrating the History of Appalachia Two new books shed light on the often misunderstood heritage of an impoverished region rich in culture: The United States of Appalachia and The Encyclopedia of Appalachia.

Celebrating the History of Appalachia

Celebrating the History of Appalachia

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A scene from an Appalachian church, 1984. David Turnley/Corbis hide caption

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David Turnley/Corbis

A scene from an Appalachian church, 1984.

David Turnley/Corbis

Scroll down to read excerpts from The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson, and Jeff Biggers' book, The United States of Appalachia.

Definitions of Appalachia

Rudy Abramson talks about two different definitions of Appalachia -- one based on politics, the other based on landforms.

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The birthplace of entertainers (Lucille Ball), musicians (Patsy Cline) authors (Cormac McCarthy) and scholars (Henry Louis Gates Jr.), Appalachia offers a rich slice of American history. But it is often steeped in mythic lore and stereotyped as backward, uncultured and poor.

Two new books seek to change these perceptions. The United States of Appalachia, by Jeff Biggers, and The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, co-edited by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell, both try to get past the negative associations and bring the historical and cultural achievements of the region to the foreground.

Biggers and Abramson join Howard Berkes for a discussion of an underappreciated region.

The United States of Appalachia
By Jeff Biggers

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The United States of Appalachia
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Jeff Biggers

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Encyclopedia of Appalachia
By Rudy Abramson, Jean Haskell, Jill Oxendine

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Title
Encyclopedia of Appalachia
Author
Rudy Abramson, Jean Haskell, Jill Oxendine

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