America’s most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate relative of "Devil Anse" Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoy’s daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoy’s sons killed Devil Anse Hatfield’s younger brother. Exacting vigilante revenge, a group of Hatfields tied them up and shot them dead. McCoy posses hijacked part of the Hatfield firing squad across state lines to stand trial, while those still free burned down Ranel McCoy’s cabin and shot two more of his children in a botched attempt to suppress the posses.
Legal wrangling ensued until the US Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky could try the captured West Virginian Hatfields. Seven went to prison, and one, mentally disabled, yelled, "The Hatfields made me do it!" as he was hanged in the Bluegrass State’s last public execution. But the feud didn’t end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and to exact an onerous toll on the region itself.
With a charming voice, a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and an abiding gift for spinning a yarn, best-selling author Lisa Alther makes an impartial, comprehensive, and compelling investigation of what actually happened, masterfully setting the feud in its historical and cultural contexts, digging deep into the many causes and explanations of the fighting, and revealing surprising alliances and entanglements. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Someone who doesn't get out much and has a twisted view of the world.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Time for the Stars by Robert Heinlein.
Have you listened to any of Amanda Ronconi’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This was the first recording I have listened to by Ms. Ronconi. I thought her performance was very nice.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
The first half was a good synopsis of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
Any additional comments?
The first half of the book was a nice synopsis of the events comprising the Hatfield / McCoy feud. FULL STOPAt this point, I should have stopped listening and burned my copy!The second half of Ms. Alther's book is pure rubbish beginning with a listing of other feuds in KY. This listing serves as a starting point for Ms. Alther's thesis that all Scots-Irish Southerners are blood-thirsty, neanderthals who will readily shoot or stab a passerby for any perceived slight!The greatest humor inducing section of Ms. Alther's book was her tale of driving along a highway and upon seeing a billboard for a gun store, she noticed how the barrel of the gun reminded her of a phallus and the trigger guard resembled a testicle.This Southern-WASP Male thinks Ms. Alther needs to get out and about a bit more.Two stars is charitable but as I noted above the first half of the book was OK!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful