The Hatfields & The McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder & Vengeance
by Lisa Alther
Americaâ€™s most notorious family feud began in 1865 with the murder of a Union McCoy soldier by a Confederate relative of â€œDevil Anseâ€ Hatfield. More than a decade later, Ranel McCoy accused a Hatfield of stealing one of his hogs, triggering years of violence and retribution, including a Romeo-and-Juliet interlude that eventually led to the death of one of McCoyâ€™s daughters. In a drunken brawl, three of McCoyâ€™s sons killed Devil Anse Hatfieldâ€™s younger brother. Exacting vigilante revenge, a group of Hatfields tied them up and shot them dead. McCoy posses hijacked part of the Hatfield firing squad across state lines to stand trial, while those still free burned down Ranel McCoyâ€™s cabin and shot two more of his children in a botched attempt to suppress the posses. Legal wrangling ensued until the US Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky could try the captured West Virginian Hatfields. Seven went to prison, and one, mentally disabled, yelled, â€œThe Hatfields made me do it!â€ as he was hanged in the Bluegrass Stateâ€™s last public execution. But the feud didnâ€™t end there. Its legend continues to have an enormous impact on the popular imagination and to exact an onerous toll on the region itself.
With a charming voice, a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and an abiding gift for spinning a yarn, best-selling author Lisa Alther makes an impartial, comprehensive, and compelling investigation of what actually happened, masterfully setting the feud in its historical and cultural contexts, digging deep into the many causes and explanations of the fighting, and revealing surprising alliances and entanglements. Here is a fascinating new look at the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.
â€œThe New York Times best-selling look at the countryâ€™s most infamous family feud. Alther is an expert on the subject.â€ â€“ Wall Street Journal
â€œAn exhaustively researched, well written, and beautifully produced volume.â€ -- Knoxville News Sentinel
â€œWell researchedâ€¦a fever dream of bloody revenge and forbidden romance deep in the mountains.â€ â€“Lexington Heraldâ€œAlther puts a new spin on the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud.â€ â€“Library Journal