Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon by Anthony Harkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Moonshiner, Redneck, Country Folk, Hillbilly. These are all terms that have been used throughout southern US history to describe the residents of the Appalachian and Ozark mountain ranges. Anthony Harkins details the history of the word Hillbilly which is both a cultural icon and at times, a derogatory term. Hillbilly has its roots in the Appalachian area but eventually migrated to include the mountainous area of Missouri and Arkansas. The term seemed to have its start in literary and regional history and grew to be used in songs, comics, movies, and television.
This book started out as Harkin's dissertation and was expanded to be published in book form. It is at times a bit on the dry side showing its scholarly roots, but by the time you get to movies and television, the information becomes much more relatable. This is a good example of how old regional vernacular is becoming more offensive and derogatory as our country's worldview has expanded.
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