For more than a century, the enduring feud
between the Hatfields and the McCoys has been American shorthand for
passionate, unyielding, and even violent confrontation. Yet despite numerous
articles, books, television shows, and feature films, nobody has ever told the
story of this legendarily fierce-and far-reaching-clash in
the heart of Appalachia. Drawing upon years of original research, including the
discovery of previously lost and ignored documents and interviews with
relatives of both families, bestselling author Dean King finally gives us the
full, unvarnished tale, one vastly more enthralling than the myth.
Unlike previous accounts, King's begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when the
Hatfields and McCoys lived side-by-side in relative harmony. Theirs was a
hardscrabble life of farming and hunting, timbering and moonshining-and raising
large and boisterous families-in the rugged hollows and hills of Virginia and
Kentucky. Cut off from much of the outside world, these descendants of
Scots-Irish and English pioneers spoke a language many Americans would find
hard to understand. Yet contrary to popular belief, the Hatfields and McCoys
were established and influential landowners who had intermarried and worked
together for decades.
When the Civil War came, and the outside world crashed into their lives, family
members were forced to choose sides. After the war, the lines that had been
drawn remained-and the violence not only lived on but became personal. By the
time the fury finally subsided, a dozen family members would be in the grave.
The hostilities grew to be a national spectacle, and the cycle of killing,
kidnapping, stalking by bounty hunters, and skirmishing between governors
spawned a legal battle that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court
and still influences us today.
Filled with bitter quarrels, reckless affairs, treacherous betrayals,
relentless mercenaries, and courageous detectives, THE FEUD
riveting story of two frontier families struggling for survival within the
narrow confines of an unforgiving land. It is a formative American tale, and in
it, we see the reflection of our own family bonds and the lengths to which we
might go in order to defend our honor, our loyalties, and our livelihood.