Over the last ten years, our Press—and the world—has seen a great deal of change. But what hasn’t changed is our commitment to publishing academic books of high scholarly merit and significant books about Kentucky and the surrounding regions, and our gratitude to be connected with university presses across the globe through the Association of University Presses. We are thrilled to be participating in #UPWeek2021, and today, we bring you 10 notable titles from the last decade—one per year—that we feel deserve the spotlight! For us, these ten books serve as a testament to our capability of publishing strong trade and scholarly books across a wide variety of subjects, including Appalachian studies, film, bourbon, Kentucky history, fiction, military history, and more.
2012 – Appalachian Elegy
Written by bell hooks, who is widely considered one of the nation’s leading authors, activists, and intellectuals, Appalachian Elegy is a collection of poems inspired by hooks’s childhood in the isolated hills and hidden hollows of Kentucky. It touches on such topics as the marginalization of Appalachian people and the environmental degradation that has plagued Appalachia over the years.
2013 – Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Residing in the state responsible for the production of 95% of the world’s bourbon, it should be no surprise that our press has an extensive backlist of books on the beverage. One of our bestsellers from the past decade, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey provides a comprehensive history of the bourbon industry from the Whiskey Rebellion to present day.
2014 – Dalton Trumbo
James Dalton Trumbo (1905–1976) is well-remembered as one of the Hollywood Ten who opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 during the committee’s investigation of Communist influences in the motion picture industry. Dalton Trumbo is the first biography of the Academy Award-winning blacklisted screenwriter.
2015 – The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia
A cooperative effort of 10 years that features more than 150 writers and over 1,000 entries, The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia is an award-winning and essential guide to the Black experience in the Commonwealth.
2016 – The Birds of Opulence
Written by Kentucky Poet Laureate and award-winning author Crystal Wilkinson, The Birds of Opulence is a lyrical novel of love and loss that centers on several generations of women in a bucolic southern Black township as they live with and sometimes surrender to madness.
2017 – Ranger
On May 21, 2021 Colonel Ralph Puckett, USA (Ret.) was presented with the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, by President Joe Biden. Ranger: A Soldier’s Life is his autobiography and recounts his extraordinary experiences on and off the battlefield.
2018 – A New History of Kentucky, 2nd Edition
In its initial publication, A New History of Kentucky was the first comprehensive history of the state published since the 1930s. The updated second edition provides significantly revised content with new material on gender politics, African American history, and cultural history.
2019 – John Hervey Wheeler, Black Banking, and the Economic Struggle for Civil Rights
John Hervey Wheeler, Black Banking, and the Economic Struggle for Civil Rights explores the Black freedom struggle through the life of North Carolina’s most influential Black power broker. Straddling the line between confrontation and negotiation, Wheeler pushed for increased economic opportunity for African Americans while reminding the white South that its future was inextricably linked to the plight of Black southerners.
2020 – Even As We Breathe
Written by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, the first enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to publish a novel, Even As We Breathe is set during World War II and follows the story of nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah, who yearns to leave his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina. In hopes of getting one step closer to escaping, he takes a summer job at Asheville’s luxurious Grove Park Inn and Resort, but his refuge soon becomes a cage when the daughter of one of the residents goes missing and he finds himself accused of abduction and murder.
2021 – Just a Few Miles South
Ouita Michel is a Kentucky treasure. Her restaurants are famous for sustainable, tasty, farm-to-table cuisine featuring traditional southern staples and unique variations on international favorites and American classics. Just a Few Miles South serves up the recipes that patrons of Michel’s restaurants have come to know and love, including the Bluegrass Benedict breakfast sandwich, Ouita’s Sardou Panini, and more.
We encourage you to check out other #UPWeek content from our fellow university presses by checking out the AUPresses blog tour and keeping up with AUPresses on Twitter! You can check out all the titles listed in this blog post at kentuckypress.com, bookshop.org, or your favorite local bookstore.