10 books like The Overmountain Men

By Pat Alderman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Overmountain Men. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Lost State of Franklin

By Kevin T. Barksdale,

Book cover of The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession

It’s been a decade since I wrote my novel that featured as a backdrop the conflict over North Carolina’s western (Overmountain) counties’ attempt to form the controversial State of Franklin, but I remember how helpful Barksdale’s book was in forming my understanding of the era, the place, and the people involved. If I didn’t, the copious highlights and notes I left in my copy of this book would be enough to jog my memory. This book was highly readable and rich in detail.

The Lost State of Franklin

By Kevin T. Barksdale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost State of Franklin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amid the economic turmoil, Native American warfare, and political unrest following the Revolutionary War, the leadership of the Tennessee Valley declared their region independent from North Carolina and formed the state of Franklin. In The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession, Kevin T. Barksdale chronicles the rise and fall of the ill-fated Franklin statehood movement. Barksdale describes the dramatic four years in which the Franklinites crafted a backcountry bureaucracy, expanded their regional market economy, and nearly eradicated the southwestern frontier's Native American population, all with the goal of becoming America's fourteenth state. Although the Franklin statehood movement collapsed in…


History of the Lost State of Franklin

By Samuel Cole Williams,

Book cover of History of the Lost State of Franklin

For many years this was the most comprehensive examination of the ill-fated State of Franklin. The author goes into great detail presenting the factors that led to this secession of its western counties from the State of North Carolina, in 1784. Still a must-read for anyone exploring this subject.

History of the Lost State of Franklin

By Samuel Cole Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of the Lost State of Franklin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No other movement for separate statehood reached, even approximately, the stage attained by Franklin, that of a de facto government, waging war, negotiating treaties and functioning for a term of years in the three great departments that mark an American State, the legislative, executive, and judicial. Genealogical and biographical information is included here as well. The author has preserved the names of minor participants in the struggle, for or against separate statehood. Of the leaders, a fuller account is given. For some of these, even, this is a rescue of their names and deeds from near-oblivion.


Tennessee Frontiers

By John R. Finger,

Book cover of Tennessee Frontiers: Three Regions in Transition

This book not only provides a chapter on the State of Franklin era (1780s) but several leading up to it, beginning with a survey of eastern Tennessee topography, its native peoples, and the earliest encroaching exploration and settlement of Europeans. Several more chapters of the region’s history follow the information on the failed statehood attempt. Along the way the author captures the spirit of the various people groups who called this region home, detailing many individuals such as Attakullakulla, Nancy Ward, Daniel Boone, John Sevier, Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, and John Ross, among others.

Tennessee Frontiers

By John R. Finger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tennessee Frontiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This chronicle of the formation of Tennessee from indigenous settlements to the closing of the frontier in 1840 begins with an account of the prehistoric frontiers and a millennia-long habitation by Native Americans. The rest of the book deals with Tennessee's historic period beginning with the incursion of Hernando de Soto's Spanish army in 1540. John R. Finger follows two narratives of the creation and closing of the frontier. The first starts with the early interaction of Native Americans and Euro-Americans and ends when the latter effectively gained the upper hand. The last land cession by the Cherokees and the…


The Wataugans

By Max Dixon,

Book cover of The Wataugans

Another in-depth examination of the development of government in the Overmountain/East Tennessee region, lending a deeper understanding of what led to the failed State of Franklin movement, also covered in this book. A slender volume originally published as part of a series for Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, it highlights many individual and conflicting viewpoints over the issues that impacted this region’s settlers and natives alike.

The Wataugans

By Max Dixon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wataugans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published as part of a series for the Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, this well-written volume gives necessary background information and details the early activities in that area in the 1760s. It thoroughly covers the settlement during its vanguard role in the 1770s and chronicles the various events that brought a change from that of a holding action to one of aggressive expansion in the 1780s.


She Walks These Hills

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Book cover of She Walks These Hills

I was drawn to this book because it’s loaded with atmosphere, and features hill folk like I do, with the difference that McCrumb’s characters inhabit the hills of Tennessee, while mine live in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. I especially like the way she weaves local lore and legends into the story, and how she reveals how the landscape appears to different characters, ranging from a long-ago woman, kidnapped by Indians who escapes and makes her way homeward, to a modern-day non-hillbilly who struggles to re-create her difficult journey. Then, there’s the way McCrumb adds a dash of the supernatural through a character with psychic powers—all of which have been grist to my fictional mill.

She Walks These Hills

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Walks These Hills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Katie Wyler still crosses Ashe Mountain, and although a few can see her, Deputy Sheriff Martha Ayers doesn't believe in ghosts. Hiram Sorley has escaped after 30 years in prison and he's on his way home to Ashe Mountain. Only Martha seems to understand that Sorley's wife and daughter are in danger.


To Whisper Her Name

By Tamera Alexander,

Book cover of To Whisper Her Name

This book is set just after the war and deals with the aftermath of a devastated land. Rich in detail with characters that tug at the heartstrings, it is a story of complex loyalties and dealing with betrayal. A beautiful and powerful story of tender hearts left wounded by a very difficult time. I listened to the audio version of this story and found it to be one I wanted to stop everything I was doing to savor.

To Whisper Her Name

By Tamera Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Whisper Her Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From bestselling author Tamera Alexander comes an exquisite historical novel set against the real history of Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, that explores the struggles of real people of the post-war South and the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Hardings' head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding,…


Child of God

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of Child of God

When I worked for a daily newspaper, I covered the trial of serial killer Richard Biegenwald. Unlike a lot of serial killers, who tend to be loners, Biegenwald was married. He seemed fairly normal, except for his habit of occasionally killing people and burying them in his mother’s backyard. Serial killers, people who don’t kill in self-defense, or to protect someone from harm, but just because they like killing, have always fascinated me. Sitting in court, twenty feet from a real, live serial killer, was intensely interesting and not a little creepy.

Having covered the trial of a serial killer, I was intrigued by what would make someone do that. The serial killer in Child of God is a loner who’s lost his home and who constantly tries, and fails, to connect with other people. His struggles are as poignant as his deeds are gruesome. 

Child of God

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Child of God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this taut, chilling novel from the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road, Lester Ballard—a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape—haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.

While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

"Like the novelists he admires-Melville, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner-Cormac McCarthy has created an imaginative oeuvre greater and deeper than any single book. Such writers wrestle with the gods themselves." —Washington Post

Look for Cormac McCarthy's new novel, The Passenger.


This Promise of Change

By JoAnn Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy,

Book cover of This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality

A collaborative book written in verse by award-winning Debbie Levy and JoAnn Allen Boyce who was one of twelve African American students who desegregated Clinton High School in eastern Tennessee in 1956. Brown vs. Board of Education ruled to integrate schools in 1954, but integration didn’t happen easily or quickly. We tend to know more about the Little Rock Nine of 1957 because national journalists published what became iconic photos of the tense struggle of courageous Black teenagers breaking through white hostility to attend a white high school. The earlier event in Tennessee was equally fraught (but less photographed). To have Boyce’s memory of events and her ability to articulate her feelings and Levy’s lyrical bent makes this an enlightening read.

This Promise of Change

By JoAnn Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Promise of Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recipient of a Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor
Winner of the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction
2020 National Council for the Social Studies Carter G. Woodson Honor Recipient
A NYPL Top Ten of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting…


Going Down Jericho Road

By Michael K. Honey,

Book cover of Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign

When I read this book, I knew plenty about Martin Luther King’s ties to the labor movement. What I did not knowand what it took Honey twenty years to piece together—was an understanding of the 1,200 workers whose desperate straits and courageous creative nonviolence called King to Memphis in 1968. Honey uncovers the small triumphs hidden from view if we only look at the large tragedy of King’s assassination. Sanitation workers fought for safer working conditions, adequate wages, and trade union recognition from a city administration that literally treated them like garbage. A labor dispute transformed into a nonviolent community revolt. I remain in awe of the book’s richly textured portraits, among them Reverend Ralph Jackson, a peaceful protester brutalized by police, who forged a "campaign to end police brutality and improve housing, jobs, wages, and education across the city."

Going Down Jericho Road

By Michael K. Honey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Going Down Jericho Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Memphis in 1968 was ruled by a paternalistic "plantation mentality" embodied in its good-old-boy mayor, Henry Loeb. Wretched conditions, abusive white supervisors, poor education, and low wages locked most black workers into poverty. Then two sanitation workers were chewed up like garbage in the back of a faulty truck, igniting a public employee strike that brought to a boil long-simmering issues of racial injustice.

With novelistic drama and rich scholarly detail, Michael Honey brings to life the magnetic characters who clashed on the Memphis battlefield: stalwart black workers; fiery black ministers; volatile, young, black-power advocates; idealistic organizers and tough-talking unionists;…


Flight Behavior

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Book cover of Flight Behavior

This novel is about one woman’s experience of the greatest cataclysm the world now faces: climate change. Kingsolver plunges us into the life of Dellarobia Turnbow, a bright, restless Appalachian woman married too young and trying to make sense of who she is. When migrating monarch butterflies confused by climate change unexpectedly settle on land belonging to Dellarobia’s family, they announce the advent of unmoored worlds and set Dellarobia on a new path. Barbara Kingsolver writes with such grace and empathy that I felt as if I was living Dellarobia’s hope and confusion as we pondered what is becoming of the dazzling natural world around us. This novel’s aesthetic beauty, breadth of vision, and generosity of spirit brought me to tears.

Flight Behavior

By Barbara Kingsolver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Flight Behavior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The flames now appeared to lift from individual treetops in showers of orange sparks, exploding the way a pine log does in a campfire when it is poked. The sparks spiralled upward in swirls like funnel clouds. Twisters of brightness against grey sky."

On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature: the monarch butterflies have not migrated south for the winter this year. Is this a miraculous message from God, or a spectacular sign of climate change. Entomology expert, Ovid Byron, certainly believes it is the latter. He ropes in…


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