We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. Check us out on the Stitcher network, available on mobile phones, in-car dashboards and tablets worldwide. Just click below to start listening:
We open today’s show with an excerpt from Amy Greene’s newly published historical novel Long Man. Long Man revisits blue-collar Appalachia with the same lyricism Greene brought to her first novel, Bloodroot. In ‘Long Man,’ she channels the frustrations of the rural poor in her indictment of a government hell-bent on destroying a long-standing community.
We’ll pause in between things to catch up on a calendar of events in the region this week, with special attention paid to events that emphasize heritage and local color.
The Battle of Bull Run was the first major battle of the Civil War. It was also the first Civil War battle to be re-enacted. That was in 1936, 75 years after the war began. Guest radio producer Kelley Libby narrates this segment on Civil War Re-enactments, which originally aired on the public radio show With Good Reason.
Ever heard or used the expression duke’s mixture? It has nothing to do with royalty, unless you consider the tobacco titans of the nineteenth century to be such. In this next piece we’ll go back to the Reconstruction era in North Carolina and follow the footsteps of Washington Duke. His tobacco products, in particular the brand known as “Duke’s Mixture,” rose to national dominance by 1900.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at an amazing little amphibian. The wood frog freezes solid over the winter, only to thaw back to life the next spring. How can this be? Three adaptations—1) supercooling; 2) producing and transporting glucose; and 3) drawing water from the organs—permit wood frogs to survive winter as totally frozen, rock-hard bodies. In the spring, its heart beat resumes within an hour after thawing and resurrection is complete in a few hours.
And thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from J H Howell’s Carolina Hillbillies in a 1938 recording of Mollie Married A Travelin’ Man.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.