Reading Appalachia from Left to Right: Conservatives and the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy

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9780801475818: Reading Appalachia from Left to Right: Conservatives and the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy
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In Reading Appalachia from Left to Right, Carol Mason examines the legacies of a pivotal 1974 curriculum dispute in West Virginia that heralded the rightward shift in American culture and politics. At a time when black nationalists and white conservatives were both maligned as extremists for opposing education reform, the wife of a fundamentalist preacher who objected to new language-arts textbooks featuring multiracial literature sparked the yearlong conflict. It was the most violent textbook battle in America, inspiring mass marches, rallies by white supremacists, boycotts by parents, and strikes by coal miners. Schools were closed several times due to arson and dynamite while national and international news teams descended on Charleston.

A native of Kanawha County, Mason infuses local insight into this study of historically left-leaning protesters ushering in cultural conservatism. Exploring how reports of the conflict as a hillbilly feud affected all involved, she draws on substantial archival research and interviews with Klansmen, evangelicals, miners, bombers, and businessmen, a who, like herself, were residents of Kanawha County during the dispute. Mason investigates vulgar accusations of racism that precluded a richer understanding of how ethnicity, race, class, and gender blended together as white protesters set out to protect "our children's souls."

In the process, she demonstrates how the significance of the controversy goes well beyond resistance to social change on the part of Christian fundamentalists or a cultural clash between elite educators and working-class citizens. The alliances, tactics, and political discourses that emerged in the Kanawha Valley in 1974 crossed traditional lines, inspiring innovations in neo-Nazi organizing, propelling Christian conservatism into the limelight, and providing models for women of the New Right.

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"The Kanawha County, West Virginia, textbook controversy remains a fascinating moment in the evolution of family values politics. Carol Mason trenchantly excavates the history and analyzes the individuals, groups, interests, ideologies, and relationships at the heart of the protest. In doing so she tells the story of the birth of the New Right in all its complexity. Mason expertly draws on interdisciplinary literatures in ethnic, women's, and American studies for this significant contribution to research on cultural politics and the culture wars."-Cynthia Burack, author of Sin, Sex, and Democracy: Antigay Rhetoric and the Christian Right

"In this captivating book, the Kanawha County textbook war of 1974 becomes a pivotal saga in the rise of the New Right because of the longstanding national need to strip-mine the Appalachian region for its myths and moral lessons. Cutting through the liberal and conservative discourses that have simultaneously romanticized and demonized the poor whites of Appalachia, Carol Mason convincingly portrays the textbook protests as a 'discursive crossroads' that cast West Virginia's working class as both backward and modern, as violent racists and innocent victims, and ultimately as Christian warriors battling to save the American soul."--Matthew D. Lassiter, University of Michigan, author of author of The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South

"Reading Appalachia from Left to Right is an extremely interesting, informative, and important book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learned much from doing so. Carol Mason advances new interpretations of that famous conflict that not only clarify the immediate community context but also shed light on how events in Kanawha helped to set the stage for subsequent New Right and Christian-based cultural politics. -- Dwight Billings, University of Kentucky, coauthor, with Kathleen Blee, of The Road to Poverty: The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia

About the Author:

Carol Mason is Associate Professor of English and Director of Gender Studies at Oklahoma State University. She is author of Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-life Politics, also from Cornell.

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Reading Appalachia from Left to Right, Carol Mason examines the legacies of a pivotal 1974 curriculum dispute in West Virginia that heralded the rightward shift in American culture and politics. At a time when black nationalists and white conservatives were both maligned as extremists for opposing education reform, the wife of a fundamentalist preacher who objected to new language-arts textbooks featuring multiracial literature sparked the yearlong conflict. It was the most violent textbook battle in America, inspiring mass marches, rallies by white supremacists, boycotts by parents, and strikes by coal miners. Schools were closed several times due to arson and dynamite while national and international news teams descended on Charleston. A native of Kanawha County, Mason infuses local insight into this study of historically left-leaning protesters ushering in cultural conservatism. Exploring how reports of the conflict as a hillbilly feud affected all involved, she draws on substantial archival research and interviews with Klansmen, evangelicals, miners, bombers, and businessmen, a who, like herself, were residents of Kanawha County during the dispute. Mason investigates vulgar accusations of racism that precluded a richer understanding of how ethnicity, race, class, and gender blended together as white protesters set out to protect our children s souls. In the process, she demonstrates how the significance of the controversy goes well beyond resistance to social change on the part of Christian fundamentalists or a cultural clash between elite educators and working-class citizens. The alliances, tactics, and political discourses that emerged in the Kanawha Valley in 1974 crossed traditional lines, inspiring innovations in neo-Nazi organizing, propelling Christian conservatism into the limelight, and providing models for women of the New Right. Seller Inventory # BZV9780801475818

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In Reading Appalachia from Left to Right, Carol Mason examines the legacies of a pivotal 1974 curriculum dispute in West Virginia that heralded the rightward shift in American culture and politics. At a time when black nationalists and white conservatives were both maligned as extremists for opposing education reform, the wife of a fundamentalist preacher who objected to new language-arts textbooks featuring multiracial literature sparked the yearlong conflict. It was the most violent textbook battle in America, inspiring mass marches, rallies by white supremacists, boycotts by parents, and strikes by coal miners. Schools were closed several times due to arson and dynamite while national and international news teams descended on Charleston. A native of Kanawha County, Mason infuses local insight into this study of historically left-leaning protesters ushering in cultural conservatism. Exploring how reports of the conflict as a hillbilly feud affected all involved, she draws on substantial archival research and interviews with Klansmen, evangelicals, miners, bombers, and businessmen, a who, like herself, were residents of Kanawha County during the dispute. Mason investigates vulgar accusations of racism that precluded a richer understanding of how ethnicity, race, class, and gender blended together as white protesters set out to protect our children s souls. In the process, she demonstrates how the significance of the controversy goes well beyond resistance to social change on the part of Christian fundamentalists or a cultural clash between elite educators and working-class citizens. The alliances, tactics, and political discourses that emerged in the Kanawha Valley in 1974 crossed traditional lines, inspiring innovations in neo-Nazi organizing, propelling Christian conservatism into the limelight, and providing models for women of the New Right. Seller Inventory # BZV9780801475818

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In Reading Appalachia from Left to Right, Carol Mason examines the legacies of a pivotal 1974 curriculum dispute in West Virginia that heralded the rightward shift in American culture and politics. At a time when black nationalists and white conservatives were both maligned as extremists for opposing education reform, the wife of a fundamentalist preacher who objected to new language-arts textbooks featuring multiracial literature sparked the yearlong conflict. It was the most violent textbook battle in America, inspiring mass marches, rallies by white supremacists, boycotts by parents, and strikes by coal miners. Schools were closed several times due to arson and dynamite while national and international news teams descended on Charleston. A native of Kanawha County, Mason infuses local insight into this study of historically left-leaning protesters ushering in cultural conservatism. Exploring how reports of the conflict as a hillbilly feud affected all involved, she draws on substantial archival research and interviews with Klansmen, evangelicals, miners, bombers, and businessmen, a who, like herself, were residents of Kanawha County during the dispute. Mason investigates vulgar accusations of racism that precluded a richer understanding of how ethnicity, race, class, and gender blended together as white protesters set out to protect our children s souls. In the process, she demonstrates how the significance of the controversy goes well beyond resistance to social change on the part of Christian fundamentalists or a cultural clash between elite educators and working-class citizens. The alliances, tactics, and political discourses that emerged in the Kanawha Valley in 1974 crossed traditional lines, inspiring innovations in neo-Nazi organizing, propelling Christian conservatism into the limelight, and providing models for women of the New Right. Seller Inventory # APC9780801475818

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