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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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hybrid extraordinaire

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

1 of 1 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lawrence
  • Monroeville, PA, United States
  • 12-18-17

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    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.

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  • Anne
  • South Orange, NJ, United States
  • 08-15-18

Brilliant, thorough, intellectually generous

This book puts Appalachia and the way of life of subsistence farming Into the larger context of the history of capitalism and the ways that capitalism continually eroded the possibility for smallholders to thrive. I learned much more than I expected and loved that he drew from such a rich range of sources, including lots of scholarship about the developing world and written by women.

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Re-record this book with a different narrator please!

This is information that everyone should know. The content is excellent and I look forward to turning to the additional resources mentioned in the text.Unfortunately, the narrator has a tone of voice as if he were whining after already having lost an argument. Every sentence ends with the same inflection. It was a major chore getting through to the end of this. audiobook. I would have returned it and I probably will get a print copy. Please find a different narrator and a re-record this book. It is too important to be done so badly.

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  • Bill
  • United States
  • 05-16-18

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.

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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!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Awful

This book has no flow whatsoever. You hang in there and then toward the end the author goes into lacy bashing of conservative tilt of the state in more recent times without understanding why that might be. What a waste of time.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Couldn’t get past chapter 2

Super tedious, i was looking forward to hearing a compelling story of the Appalachian region, way too detailed and academic...missed opportunity on the soul of the region.