A Title A Day…

Following the release of our Fall 2010 catalog, the University Press of Kentucky would like to introduce you to our upcoming titles. Over the next few weeks, we’ll spotlight one new title every day or so. We’ll give you all the information so you can start adding titles to your wishlist.

Available October, 2010:

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How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders

Maryjean Wall


$29.95, Cloth


The conflicts of the Civil War continued long after the conclusion of the war: jockeys and Thoroughbreds took up the fight on the racetrack. A border state with a shifting identity, Kentucky was scorned for its violence and lawlessness and struggled to keep up with competition from horse breeders and businessmen from New York and New Jersey. From 1865 to 1910, the social and physical landscape of Kentucky underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, resulting in the genteel, beautiful, and quintessentially southern Bluegrass region of today.

In How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders, former turf writer Maryjean Wall explores the post-Civil War world of Thoroughbred racing, before the Bluegrass reigned supreme as the unofficial Horse Capital of the World. Wall uses her insider knowledge of horse racing as the foundation for an unprecedented examination of the efforts to establish a Thoroughbred industry in late-nineteenth-century Kentucky. Key events include a challenge between Asteroid, the best horse in Kentucky, and Kentucky, the best horse in New York; a mysterious and deadly disease that threatened to wipe out the foal crops for several years; and the disappearance of African American jockeys such as Isaac Murphy. Wall demonstrates how the Bluegrass could have easily slipped into irrelevance but instead emerged as the center of horse racing and breeding.

About the Author:

Maryjean Wall served as the turf writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader for thirty-five years. She lives in Versailles, Kentucky.


“One of the best studies ever on the history of the horse in Kentucky. Wall combines her abilities as a prizewinning journalist and a trained academic to craft a readable, pathbreaking history. Focusing on the period immediately after the Civil War, Wall shows how Kentucky almost lost its preeminence in the horse-racing industry and how it regained that position. . . . It is a story peopled with colorful characters and filled with insights.” -James C. Klotter, State Historian of Kentucky

“This is a remarkable work. Many authors, myself included, have addressed the development of the Bluegrass region as the Thoroughbred capital of the nation, but I have never seen a treatment that tells the story with such depth and thoroughness.” Ed Bowen, President, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

“The historian and former Herald-Leader turf writer offers a look at how Kentucky went from an underdog, post-Civil War border state to the center of the billion-dollar Thoroughbred industry.”-Lexington Herald-Leader

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About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

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