July 20, 2012
37 B&W photos, 1 map
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.45 Pounds (US)
$70.00 USD, £25.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Mountains on the Market

Industry, the Environment, and the South

Manufacturing in the Northeast and the Midwest pushed the United States to the forefront of industrialized nations during the early nineteenth century; the South, however, lacked the large cities and broad consumer demand that catalyzed changes in other parts of the country. Nonetheless, in contrast to older stereotypes, southerners did not shun industrial development when profits were possible. Even in the Appalachian South, where the rugged terrain presented particular challenges, southern entrepreneurs formed companies as early as 1760 to take advantage of the region's natural resources.

In Mountains on the Market: Industry, the Environment, and the South, Randal L. Hall charts the economic progress of the New River Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, which became home to a wide variety of industries. By the start of the Civil War, railroads had made their way into the area, and the mining and processing of lead, copper, and iron had long been underway. Covering 250 years of industrialization, environmental exploitation, and the effects of globalization, Mountains on the Market situates the New River Valley squarely in the mainstream of American capitalism.

About the Author

Randal L. Hall is managing editor of the Journal of Southern History and adjunct associate professor of history at Rice University. He is the author or editor of several books, including Lum and Abner: Rural America and the Golden Age of Radio and William Louis Poteat: A Leader of the Progressive-Era South. He is also the coeditor of Seeing Jefferson Anew: In His Time and Ours and Thomas Dixon Jr. and the Birth of Modern America.


"Mountains on the Market is an outstanding work of interest to historians of many different specialties. There are few books that cover such a long time frame but remain readable, coherent, and contextually reflexive. Southernists will now refer to this book first in thinking about the historical development of the extractive industries, their impact on the environment, and what it tells us about the South."—David Brown, coauthor of Race in the American South: From Slavery to Civil Rights"

"Mountains on the Market is an important step forward in the rewriting of southern economic and social history in a way that effectively ties all dimensions of the evolving capitalist system to the larger international and global processes. Hall's book demonstrates an originality that firmly situates it at the cutting edge of historical writing on the U.S. South."—Susanna Delfino, coeditor of Global Perspectives on Industrial Transformation in the American South"

"Randal Hall advances our understanding of the commercialization and exploitation of the southern highlands' mineral resources in significant new ways in this multi-faceted study of Virginia's New River Valley. As conceptually sophisticated as it is chronologically vast, Hall forces us to rethink the prospects, processes and pace of market forces as they evolved over two and a half centuries. This is a landmark not only of Appalachian history but of southern economic and environmental history as well."—John C. Inscoe, author of Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South"

"As a region previously categorized by scholars as backward or undeveloped, southwestern Virginia undergoes quite a journey in Hall's skillful and painstakingly researched narrative...his convincing argument that we need to reassess the mountain South's traditional role as a preindustrial or precapitalist region makes his book a valuable addition to the literature and a must-read for scholars of economic development and the U.S. South."—Sean Patrick Adams, The Journal of Southern History

"Provides an astonishingly detailed portrait of the extractice industries in the New River region of Virginia...All in all, the volume...provides an excellent microhistory of an understudied region of the Appalachian South."—North Carolina Historical Review

"Randal Hall provides a well-researched and well-written economic history of southwestern Virginia... Anyone with an interest in Southern history, Appalachian history, business history, or extractive industries should read this book.—Charles Reback"—Charles Reback, EH.Net

"Reading a history book that does not stop or start with the Civil War era is refreshing.—Robert Gudmestad"—Robert Gudmestad

"Hall tantalizes his readers with such a short treatment that one is left wishing for more."—American Historical Review

9780813136240 : mountains-on-the-market-hall
322 Pages
$70.00 USD

Other Titles by Randal L. Hall

A Rape in the Early Republic

Alexander Smyth, edited by Randal L. Hall
Feb 2017 - University Press of Kentucky
$25.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Lum and Abner

Randal L. Hall
Sep 2007 - University Press of Kentucky
$60.00 USD - Hardback

William Louis Poteat

Randal L. Hall
Jul 2000 - University Press of Kentucky
$70.00 USD - Hardback

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Marriage on the Border

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Willis Duke Weatherford

Andrew McNeill Canady
Sep 2019 - University Press of Kentucky
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