Blood Feud by Lisa Alther

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See 3 Critic Reviews's wonderful, awful stuff, rife with ambushes, horrific murders of men, women and children, revenge and betrayal, and void of anything resembling justice or mercy.
-Star Tribune


America’s most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate Hatfield relative of "Devil Anse" Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield cousin of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoy’s daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoy's sons killed Devil Anse Hatfield’s younger brother. Exacting vigilante vengeance, a group of Hatfields tied them up and shot them dead. McCoy posses hijacked part of the Hatfield firing squad across state lines to stand trial, while those still free burned down Ranel McCoy’s cabin and shot two of his children in a botched attempt to suppress the posses. Legal wrangling ensued until the US Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky could try the captured West Virginian Hatfields. Seven went to prison, and one, mentally disabled, yelled, “The Hatfields made me do it!” as he was hanged. But the feud didn’t end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and the region.

With a charming voice, a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and an abiding gift for spinning a yarn, bestselling author Lisa Alther makes an impartial, comprehensive, and compelling investigation of what happened, masterfully setting the feud in its historical and cultural contexts, digging deep into the many causes and explanations of the fighting, and revealing surprising alliances and entanglements. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.


About Lisa Alther

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Lisa Alther was born in the Appalachian town of Kingsport, Tennessee, and is the author of six bestselling novels, which have appeared in fifteen languages and sold over 6 million copies worldwide. Her father’s family is related by marriage to the Fighting McCoys.
Published February 5, 2013 by Lyons Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Other, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Jun 17 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Blood Feud
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Star Tribune

Reviewed by PAMEL MILLER on Jun 04 2012's wonderful, awful stuff, rife with ambushes, horrific murders of men, women and children, revenge and betrayal, and void of anything resembling justice or mercy.

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Reviewed by Brian Bethune on Jun 07 2012

The other striking aspect of Blood Feud is subtler, dispiriting, and never explicitly put forward by Alther, but emerges clearly from her exposition of events: the practical value of unhesitating violence.

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Chapter 16

Reviewed by Tina LoTufo on Jun 04 2012

Blood Feud is an exhaustively researched, well written, and beautifully produced volume complete with maps, endnotes, bibliography, index, dozens of fascinating period photographs, and extensive family trees...

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