• Ramp Hollow

  • The Ordeal of Appalachia
  • By: Steven Stoll
  • Narrated by: Brian Sutherland
  • Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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Ramp Hollow  By  cover art

Ramp Hollow

By: Steven Stoll
Narrated by: Brian Sutherland
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Publisher's Summary

How the United States underdeveloped Appalachia

Appalachia - among the most storied and yet least understood regions in America - has long been associated with poverty and backwardness. But how did this image arise, and what exactly does it mean? In Ramp Hollow, Steven Stoll launches an original investigation into the history of Appalachia and its place in US history, with a special emphasis on how generations of its inhabitants lived, worked, survived, and depended on natural resources held in common.

Ramp Hollow traces the rise of the Appalachian homestead and how its self-sufficiency resisted dependence on money and the industrial society arising elsewhere in the United States - until, beginning in the 19th century, extractive industries kicked off a "scramble for Appalachia" that left struggling homesteaders dispossessed of their land. As the men disappeared into coal mines and timber camps, and their families moved into shantytowns or deeper into the mountains, the commons of Appalachia were, in effect, enclosed, and the fate of the region was sealed.

Ramp Hollow takes a provocative look at Appalachia and the workings of dispossession around the world by upending our notions about progress and development. Stoll ranges widely from literature to history to economics in order to expose a devastating process whose repercussions we still feel today.

©2017 Steven Stoll (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about Ramp Hollow

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Almost unlistenable

This is an interesting book and certainly does a good job of explaining how Appalachia came to be and the confluence of various factors that were and continue to be at play. I slogged my way through it, not because of the writing but because of the performance. As others have pointed out, the narrator is almost unbearable: his voice sounds a lot like AI, inflection/delivery is quite wooden and monotonous, and is distractingly slow. I finally turned up speed to 1.25, which made things a little better. I honestly can’t believe the production team cut this loose on an unsuspecting public. Seriously, they can’t possibly have not noticed that the performance is sub par (it’s a quadruple bogey, at least). The author should demand that Audible re-record his book, because it’s a worthwhile read.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Content A; Performance F-

Well researched and well written. Too bad the narrator spoils it with a sound-crushing bad delivery. The CIA doesn’t need to waterboard terrorists. Just have this guy read to them; they’ll talk.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Painful to listen to!

I have listened to hundreds of books on tape, on CDs and now on Audible for decades. I have never before found it impossible to continue to listen based on the reader as opposed to the content. I feel very sorry for the author as the books seems to be genuinely interesting but I just cannot keep listening!

3 people found this helpful

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Could not get into it

It was tedious and just too wordy. Not my cup of tea. I am from this area so I hoped it would be interesting rather than just historic. It is more a textbook.

3 people found this helpful

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Unable to finish

Admittedly, I bought this on the premise that I wanted to learn more about West Virginia. And in the 2 hours+ I listened, there were references to WV. However, the narrative was so "mechanical" I actually thought several times the book was read by computer. I tried speeding the book to 1.25, hoping I could get through it. . but no luck.

If you buy this book, I wish you all the best.

1 person found this helpful

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Hybrid extraordinaire

Economic theory exemplified by the historical geography of Appalachia, as a hybrid treatment quite a "home run."

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very Interesting

I like that the book makes clear the connections between historical happenings centuries ago that are not traditionally taught, shared and still affect our culture and government. History truly does repeat itself. "Nothing is new under the sun."

1 person found this helpful

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Read This (Not Hillbilly Elegy)

Great telling of the history of Appalachia and its peoples. It covers everything from politics, environmentalism, and even goes into future justice for its citizens and similar people around the world.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Narrator’s Voice is Unfortunate

Entirely monotone narration. I can’t get through the first two chapters. I plan to just buy and read the actual book. The story itself is awesome.

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Say it correctly

It’s a central principle of respect that you pronounce people’s names properly. Unfortunately, the narrator mispronounces “Appalachia,” choosing to use the pronunciation developed by ivory-tower intellectuals instead of the pronunciation used by people from Appalachia. It is deeply disrespectful.