What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

In 2016, headlines declared Appalachia ground zero for America’s “forgotten tribe” of white working class voters. Journalists flocked to the region to extract sympathetic profiles of families devastated by poverty, abandoned by establishment politics, and eager to consume cheap campaign promises. What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia is a frank assessment of America’s recent fascination with the people and problems of the region. Th...

Details What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

TitleWhat You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia
Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherBelt Publishing
GenreNonfiction, History, Politics, Sociology

Reviews What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

  • Jessaka
    A Rebuttal to Hillbilly ElegyWhile reading Hillbilly Elegy was a fun read, I also saw it as a book that held the same ideals as those of a certain segment of our society that believe that you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get religion, and then all will be okay. Hillbilly Elegy also stereotyped those living in the Appalachian Mountains. For some reason they were all white Scot-Irish when they are also from other European co...
  • Carrie
    If you felt at all compelled to read Hillbilly Elegy, do yourself a favor by reading Elizabeth Catte's work. She convincingly tears apart many of the stereotypes Vance perpetuates, giving a much more nuanced history of the region, from the vast exploitation of land, people, and resources to the resulting labor movements and radical acts of rebellion. Recent media coverage portraying parts of Appalachia as backward and tragically impoverished is n...
  • Bruce
    I started reading Elizabeth Catte’s book and could not stop. I’ve underlined and written notes all through the text of course. My guess is that a good proportion of my friends saw thorough J. D. Vance’s hideous “Hillbilly Elegy”, but it’s a monster best seller and soon to be Ron Howard movie, so maybe not. Read this. Catte eviscerates Vance (who at one point she likens to the monster in ”It Follows”), along with other prime exampl...
  • notgettingenough
    To begin with a mea culpa. Even though I knew Catte was fighting against the stereotypes, I still expected this book to be a sort of coffee table book one might find described in Stuff White People Like . A sumptuous publication in large format comprising artistic black and white photos of...weird poor people. Nice white people could talk about how awful it all is and how they wish they could do something about it. (Pass the organic vegan caviar...
  • Karin
    She gives voice to my issues with "Hillbilly Elegy" ("In Elegy...white Appalachians take on the qualities of an oppressed minority much in the same way that conservative individuals view African Americans: as people who have suffered hardships, but ultimately are only holding themselves back. This construction allows conservative intellectuals to talk around stale stereotypes of African Americans and other nonwhite individuals while holding up th...
  • Garen
    I’m going to quit my job and walk the earth with a knapsack full of copies of this book and hand them out whenever I hear someone mention hillbilly elegy.
  • Shomeret
    When I came across commentary about Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, I thought about what I knew of the history of the region and it didn't sit right. So I never did read it. I figured that I wouldn't get any fresh insight from Vance. I read Kephart's Our Southern Highlanders many years ago. So I'm familiar with that perspective. I was glad to come across What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by historian Elizabeth Catte who is also native t...
  • stephanie
    Everyone, please read this book.
  • Sean
    Not just a refreshing rebuttal to JD Vance's troubling memoir; a great leftist primer on diversity and agency in Appalachia.
  • Lesa
    Who would you guess has the best background to write about Appalachia, a writer and historian from East Tennessee with a PhD in public history, or a venture capitalist who wrote his own personal memoir? In What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, historian Elizabeth Catte compiles the history and social history of the region to dispute J.D. Vance's role as expert after the success of his memoir, Hillbilly Elegy.There are 25 million people in ...
  • Tuck
    Author highlights the blacks liberals Latinos progressives of this mountain region and how tree and coal and people exploitation has shaped the culture and economy. And how many many people are fighting to change that pattern.
  • Matthew Noe
    A vital rebuke of Vance, but more than that, a strong foundational history of the region that leaves you ready for more. Which, kindly enough, Catte provides plenty of suggestions on where to go next.
  • Dennis Fischman
    I thought I knew a few things about Appalachia, but in 150 pages, Catte has taught me:*That sympathy for the region and disgust for it can be two sides of the same coin.*That any problem you can find in Appalachia, you can find all over America.*That the image of Appalachia as “Trump Country” not only ignores the radical opposition, it’s part of a century-long effort to paint Appalachia as backward, stuck in time, a country of its own—in ...
  • David
    Myths (not to say "Lies") about Appalachia have a long history of being used for various purposes, not often for the good of the region. Those myths keep the rest of ignorant, too, so that's why I'm strongly urging everyone to read this book. It won't take much of your time, but you'll be better for it.If you read Hillbilly Elegy, you MUST read this. If you didn't read that book, you should still read this one, and not only so you know what to sa...
  • Bonnie
    Forget Hillybilly Elegy. This is the book you need to read.
  • Monica
    I finally made the time to finish Elizabeth Catte’s urgently needed book. The parallels she draws between the present moment and the attention paid to Appalachia during the War on Poverty are important. She traces an important alternate history of Appalachia, one of resistance and exploitation that has been forgotten or ignored by those outside of the region. This should be required reading for anyone who has read a mainstream media account of ...
  • Rachel Blakeman
    I'm not sure what I am getting wrong about Appalachia and I just finished this book. The author didn't seem to know where she wanted to go with this aside from getting it out the door to capitalize on the enthusiasm about "Hillbilly Elegy." It had a very haphazard "structure" that never really answered the question. I think she assumed the reader knew a lot more about Appalachian history than most do. Unfortunately she kept comparing it to a book...
  • Melanie
    Instead of “Hillbilly Elegy”, read this book, which celebrates the diversity, pluck, and beauty of Appalachia.
  • Mary Ralph
    This book is absolutely necessary reading. Push back against those ridiculous narratives of eugenics JD Vance is spinning and get to know some true Appalachians.
  • Duane Gosser
    Wow! I had mixed emotions during/after reading Hillbilly Elegy but was blissfully unaware of the ties to white supremacy movements and advocates noted in this book. This is a must read for anyone interested in the history and issues for Appalachia.
  • Ashley
    Summarizing this book is an act in creating understatements, because in under 150 pages it addresses the outsider stereotyping of Appalachia as the main hub of "Trump Country" and the story that West Virginia, et. al. was responsible for Trump winning the election; it tackles the logic behind the "Trump Country" label in people outside of Appalachia taking J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy as fact; and last, it covers the radical history of Appalachi...
  • Bookworm
    I had never read J.D. Vance's 'Hillbilly Elegy' after reading/hearing from other voices stating that it's really not a good representation of his subject(s) and that it's really more about a launching a political office career. So when I saw Catte's response plus a few other articles it seemed like this would be a better representation of the area.Catte seeks to upend some of the perceptions, stereotypes, common media narratives about the Appalac...
  • Ryan
    Catte's book is a welcome corrective to the self-aggrandizing poor-white-Appalachia version that JD Vance has been selling like hotcakes. Instead of trafficking in poverty porn, Catte offers a firm rebuttal of Vance's vision with a clear, progressive, inclusive path forward. The book embraces the MANY different Appalachian identities that might pave the way, rather than valorizing the vanishing coal miner, whose image might at once stand for nobl...
  • Judy
    Catte seems to have written this book primarily to express her anger over J. D. Vance's book Hillbilly Elegy, which she sees as biased and unfair. She presents some of the history of Appalachia and how the people living there have been used and cheated in order to enrich the coffers of coal mine owners. She sees Hillbilly Elegy as simplistic and believes it wrongly attributes Appalachian poverty to laziness and stubbornness on the part of the res...
  • Scott Schneider
    A wonderful rebuttal to Hillbilly Elegy which shows the people of Appalachia as resilient and defiant with a long history of opposition to the powerful interests that are raping their section of the country. I like how she wrote so much about the images we see of Appalachia through photographs. She reminds us of the mine strikes, Highlander Center, Appalshop and many other progressive movements there. Even though this is "Trump Country" most peop...
  • Mike
    One of the most disappointing developments I’ve noticed from some of my fellow liberals in the wake of the 2016 election has been the tendency to write off regions of the country that supported Trump and to blame residents of those regions for electing him. This has led to some taking an almost perverse glee when one of Trump’s terrible policies hurts people in places that voted for him. For example, healthcare costs go up in some red state b...
  • Carrie
    I agree with many of the other reviews that say this book needed a better editor - the flow was really disjointed and would have been much clearer with a more defined structure. But the content is excellent. Anyone who has read the frustratingly ubiquitous JD Vance should also read this, and if you haven't read JD Vance, don't (it's really not good) and read this instead. I'm not Appalachian but I've spent much of my adult life working with Appal...
  • Miri
    I initially felt bad for reading this book before/without reading J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, which it spends a third of its text criticizing, but now I’m glad I read it first and any lingering interest I may have had in Hillbilly Elegy is gone. In a fraction of the length, this book not only takes apart Vance’s stereotyping and racial ignorance but also tells the story of corporate, political, and journalistic exploitation of the Appalac...
  • Linda Layne
    I had a very difficult time making it through this book. Obviously by her title, "What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia" she has problems with J.D. Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy." No doubt the title was meant to get the reader's attention and sell more books. It did get my attention.I am of hillbilly stock, to be more precise, my bloodline is from Appalachia mountains, specifically, the mountains of West Virginia. Now to begin with, I read Vance...
  • Eric
    Excellent. HIGHLY recommended. Offers a fantastic exploration of Appalachia from a cultural and historical perspective, while refuting contemporary models of what the region is in the popular mythology. Really excellent book. Includes a BRILLIANT bibliography as well. READ THIS.