Reading & Film List

Boalt on Break participants will explore the culture, history, politics, and economy of eastern Kentucky and the greater Central Appalachian region. They will be exposed to a variety of viewpoints, considering both the critical perspectives of writers and thinkers from within the region, as well as how the region is often portrayed by outsiders. Boalt on Break does not necessarily endorse any of these viewpoints. The materials may include some of the following:


They’ll Cut Off Your Project by Huey Perry

Night Comes to the Cumberlands by Harry Caudill

The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald M. Stern

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Colonialism in Modern America: The Appalachian Case by Helen Lewis, et al.

High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place

Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll


Reflections on Bringing Justice to the Citizens of Appalachia by John Rosenburg (Founder of AppalReD)

What’s the Matter with Eastern Kentucky? by Annie Lowrey (The NYT Magazine)

Silas House on Eastern Kentucky: ‘I am that smudge’ by Silas House
(A response to “What’s the Matter with Eastern Kentucky?”)

Kentucky is My Fate by bell hooks

Advanced Black Lung Cases Surge in Appalachia (NPR)

What kind of a childhood is that? (Washington Post)

J.D. Vance, the False Prophet of Blue America (The New Republic)

Breathless and Burdened (Center for Public Integrity on Black Lung Disease)

The Economic Colonization of Rural America; Increasing Vulnerability in a Volatile World by John Ikerd


Harlan County USA

Blood on the Mountain


The Adversity of a Child’s Life in Rural Kentucky

Coal: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Various Appalshop Productions