Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945 Essay

Words: 1273
Pages: 6

In Uneven Ground, the author Ronald D. Eller narrates the economic, political, and social change of Appalachia after World War II. He writes “persistent unemployment and poverty set Appalachia off as a social and economic problem area long before social critic Michael Harrington drew attention to the region as part of the “other America” in 1962.”(pp.2) Some of the structural problems stated by Eller include problems of land abuse, political corruption, economic shortsightedness, and the loss of community and culture; personally view the economic myopia as being the most daunting.
Arguing flaws in the expansion of Appalachia’s postwar economy, Eller responds this led to “growth without development”. With the coal industry flourishing
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With the passage of the Appalachian Regional Development Act (ARDA) in 1965, the formation of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), and the media’s increasing of interest in the region’s poverty-stricken residents, the development of the federal government’s poverty strategy became apparent across Appalachia.
Ronald Eller’s book Uneven Ground: Appalachia since 1945 is a narrative of all the struggles and discrepancies of the Appalachian region. When addressing the title of his book, it can be seen the appropriateness of word “uneven”. Whether Eller was implying “uneven” to be figurative or literal, it certainly would pertain to both. Uneven in a literal sense is exactly what our region is. Geographically it’s uneven with its Mountains and off-balance low land. These are the basis for our culture to begin with. Because the regions ground is so “uneven” it was almost inaccessible making residents become self-reliant, and forcing them to live off their own land. The culture of this is what leads to the underdevelopment of Appalachia and the rest of America to view it as backward and poor. In a figurative sense, Eller addresses the broader view of how Appalachia’s development has been uneven. How unequal the access to good jobs, education, and healthcare are in our region.
Appalachia’s future as a region is a question that as a native I