Last updated: December 15. 2013 6:46AM -
Martha Sparks msparks@civitasmedia.com

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Several books written either by former Logan County residents or about the local area are available for purchase.

— “The Hobo and the Dog” was written by part-time Holden resident Tony B. Ratliff Sr. The book, found online at http://www.tbratliff.com/ or www.amazon.com, is as: Abandoned by neglectful owners, a golden retriever must learn to fend for himself. Over time he develops street smarts, avoiding fast moving cars and net-carrying humans. But his newfound sense of caution can’t quite overcome his loving nature. He risks capture again and again as he helps those who need him.

“After losing his wife and baby in one tragic moment, Barfield feels heartbroken, forsaken by God, and utterly alone. He becomes a drifter, crisscrossing the country, looking for answers and finding none. When man and dog meet in a darkened boxcar, Barfield has reached the limits of his endurance. He hangs onto the side of the speeding train as it crosses the raging and dangerous waters of the New River Gorge of West Virginia, preparing to leap to his death. But the golden retriever cannot ignore a human in need.

“The Hobo and the Dog explores the powerful influence of prayer, pets, and poetry. With great sensitivity, Tony B. Ratliff, Sr. spins a tale of hope and healing you’ll not soon forget.”

— “The Unlikely Priest” was written by J. Perry Smith, who spent part of his childhood in Logan. The book can be found at http://jperrysmithbooks.com/ or www.amazon.com and is described as: From Appalachia to California, from Mexico to the jungles of Vietnam to Central America and Europe, from frozen Minnesota to the Atlanta Olympics and steamy Puerto Rico, this is a remarkable story of a man who led many lives - bullfighter, Trappist monk, U.S. Army counterintelligence agent, CIA operative, FBI Agent and finally… Episcopal priest.

“The author tells of close encounters with bulls, Viet Cong, spies and thugs, bank robbers, famous officials and movie stars, and just-in-the-nick escapes from Mexico and Central America. He also tells a more personal story of broken trusts and abandonment… a story of a secret adoption and the author’s relentless search to find the truth and a biological family. The author mustered all of his investigative skills and instincts to finally discover his biological roots. It was, however, ultimately his faith and hope that sustained him in the search for himself, and his one true father, God. A successful high-level government careerist, Perry wrote this memoir to inspire others to risk a life of service. In a time of national self-doubt and cynicism, this book offers an optimistic and inspired view of serving God and others, especially the nation.”

— The third book, “The Hatfield & McCoy Feud After Kevin Costner, Rescuing History, can be found on www.amazon.com and is described as “For a century we read in books and newspapers and saw on screen, the legend of what is the most famous feud in American history: the Hatfields and the McCoys. What we had was legend, and not history, mainly because the story consisted of a few historical events inside several layers of tall tales and fables reported by the yellow journalists of the late nineteenth century.

“The same moneyed interests who owned the newspapers also wanted the vast mineral riches underlying the land occupied by the Hatfields and McCoys, and their reporters’ depictions of the people of Tug Valley as immoral and violent barbarians helped to make the swindle more palatable to the public. In the 1980s, the historians Otis Rice and Altina Waller, published their well researched books, placing the feud in the proper economic and political context. Those books (especially Waller) took the feud out of the fiction category and laid the foundation for serious historical study of the events of that period in the Tug Valley. Since fiction can be made just as exciting as the screenwriter or author desires, the 2012 TV epic, Hatfields & McCoys, and the recent fictional ‘history’’ books are great entertainment, but they set back the study of actual feud history many years by claiming to be “The True Story.”

“The TV show was followed by several books, some of which contain an even greater ratio of fable to facts than did the movie. One recent book cites the yellow journalists of the 1880s more than two hundred times. With a rare combination of facts and humor, this author calls them all to task. Tom E. Dotson, holder of an Ivy League graduate degree, and descended from both the Hatfields and McCoys, asks the question: “When only nine of the thirty-six men who supported Devil Anse were Hatfields, and only eight of the forty who rode with the Phillips posse were McCoys, why is it called ‘The Hatfield and McCoy feud’?” With solid research and a unique insight, Dotson answers that question.”

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