So Far Appalachia, a creative nonfiction memoir, is the first book to make sense of the question so many people have asked after the election of President Donald Trump: Why did so many of the rural, white working class vote for somebody that seems to hate them? What this book isn’t is a tome meant to gloss over the problems of race and gender in the region. This isn’t an apologist’s book. Instead, the book’s focus is explaining how class differences have shaped this country in ways that we aren’t very good at discussing.

To answer that first question and explore those invisible forces, this personal narrative follows the story of my family settling Clay County, Kentucky, which today is the poorest county in the country and that was labeled as “The Hardest Place to Live in America” by the The New York Times. The story uses my family to explain and illuminate Appalachia and tell a story about why region exists in a state of perpetual poverty.

The book is divided into three parts, using my personal narrative and the unfolding of my family’s three-hundred years history in Eastern Kentucky. Part One explores how the invisible force of class has created an anger and bitterness in the region. Part Two explores the historical forces that shaped the Appalachian region and the country. And Part Three explores how that history and those forces pushed against the Appalachian people to create a cauldron on poverty.

The book will be out…soon-ish. For now, you can sign up for my email newsletter, read my SFA blog posts , or follow stories of Appalachia on the Facebook page.

About the book