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The New South's New Frontier : A Social History of Economic Development in Southwestern North Carolin (New Perspectives on the History of the South)
by John David Smith
Binding: Hardcover, 1st edition, 208 pages
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Weight: 0.94 pound
Dimension: H: 0.75 x L: 9.34 x W: 0.52 inches
ISBN 10: 0813021162
ISBN 13: 9780813021164
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This book explores the origins of exploitative development in the Great Smoky Mountains and finds some surprising similarities to developmental patterns in the rest of the South. Focusing on the economic transformation of the southern Appalachians, Stephen Taylor examines the dynamics of rural versus small town forces in the western North Carolina mountains, the region sometimes known as the 'back of beyond,' a name that pays homage to the mythic past of Appalachian isolation. The capitalist ethic permeated the area: people accustomed to just 'getting by' tended to embrace a money economy with open arms and wallets but retained their ability to survive on what they could produce, just in case prosperity fled again. As they sought more cash and more of the material goods that it made available to them, town dwellers actively participated in the exploitation of the area's natural resources. After the mines and logging companies left, the National Park Service and TVA's Fontana Dam harnessed what remained scenic beauty (where the forest had not been clear cut) and hydroelectric power. In the process they reduced the few options remaining to area residents to develop the local economy; the only asset left to market was the region's romanticized image as an isolated backwater. Focusing with sensitivity on the ordinary citizens who made the region what it has become, Taylor demonstrates how government plans and business goals affected the culture and community life of a particular region. The national implications of this study will be of interest to scholars studying the New South and the history of tourism and of economic development.
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