For more than a century, the enduring feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys has been American shorthand for passionate, unyielding, and even violent confrontation. Yet despite numerous articles, books, television shows, and feature films, nobody has ever told the in-depth true story of this legendarily fierce-and far-reaching-clash in the heart of Appalachia.
Drawing upon years of original research, including the discovery of previously lost and ignored documents and interviews with relatives of both families, best-selling author Dean King finally gives us the full, unvarnished tale, one vastly more enthralling than the myth.
Unlike previous accounts, King's begins in the mid-19th century, when the Hatfields and McCoys lived side-by-side in relative harmony. Theirs was a hardscrabble life of farming and hunting, timbering and moonshining - and raising large and boisterous families - in the rugged hollows and hills of Virginia and Kentucky. Cut off from much of the outside world, these descendants of Scots-Irish and English pioneers spoke a language many Americans would find hard to understand. Yet contrary to popular belief, the Hatfields and McCoys were established and influential landowners who had intermarried and worked together for decades.
When the Civil War came, and the outside world crashed into their lives, family members were forced to choose sides. After the war, the lines that had been drawn remained - and the violence not only lived on but became personal. By the time the fury finally subsided, a dozen family members would be in the grave. The hostilities grew to be a national spectacle, and the cycle of killing, kidnapping, stalking by bounty hunters, and skirmishing between governors spawned a legal battle that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court and still influences us today.
Filled with bitter quarrels, reckless affairs, treacherous betrayals, relentless mercenaries, and courageous detectives, The Feud is the riveting story of two frontier families struggling for survival within the narrow confines of an unforgiving land. It is a formative American tale, and in it, we see the reflection of our own family bonds and the lengths to which we might go in order to defend our honor, our loyalties, and our livelihood.
©2013 Dean King (P)2013 Hachette Audio
I enjoyed the history of the story. I appreciate the amount of research that went into telling this story.
Way way way too many names to even come close to remembering. Back in the 1860s, the national past time in the Ozarks appears to have been baby making as it was not uncommon for families to have 12 or more children. Just going back two generations on both the Hatfield and McCoy sides, Id guess close to 150 family members get mentioned. This does not include all the close friends and business associates and their families. Then all the politicians and such and their families. On second thought, better get 2 pads of paper.
It helped greatly that before listening to this audiobook, I had watched the History channel 2012 miniseries and knew the major players already. Without watching the minieries, I would have been totally lost. The miniseries varies somewhat with this book as the miniseries seems to favor the McCoy side and the book definately favors the Hatfield side
This book seems to downplay Johnsey Hatfield's relationships with the two McCoy cousins, Roseanne and Nancy. The book barely goes into the lives of these two gals.
This book is chock full of facts and tries to dispel the many myths concerning the feud. Where it falls short is that the listener sometimes has no idea who the author is talking about.
See the miniseries first, then you can give this book a try.
In my opinion the writer did a great job creating a detailed description of the Feud between the families. My favourite parts:
-Accurately explaining the roots of the conflict in the civil war
-Fairly presenting both sides of the story – there did not seem to be a bias one way or the other
-Detailing how the families had relationships outside of the feud -> through marriage or business
-Explaining social and cultural norms during the time period (example – gathering for election parties)
-Weaving the stories of non-family participants into the narrative (such as the bounty hunters)
I highly recommend this book…great listening for anyone interested in true crime, or historical drama.
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