Read The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox Jr. Online


John Fox Jr. published this great romantic novel of the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky and Virginia in 1908, and the book quickly became one of America's favorites. It has all the elements of a good romance -- a superior but natural heroine, a hero who is an agent of progress and enlightenment, a group of supposedly benighted mountaineers to be drawn into the flow of maiJohn Fox Jr. published this great romantic novel of the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky and Virginia in 1908, and the book quickly became one of America's favorites. It has all the elements of a good romance -- a superior but natural heroine, a hero who is an agent of progress and enlightenment, a group of supposedly benighted mountaineers to be drawn into the flow of mainstream American culture, a generous dose of social and class struggle, and a setting among the misty coves and cliffs of the blue Cumberlands.Reprinted with a foreword by John Ed Pearce, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine has all the excitement and poignance that caught and held readers' interest when the book first appeared....

Title : The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780813101569
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 440 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Reviews

  • Joel
    2019-05-04 19:20

    It's interesting how many people use the term "Western" to describe this novel set around the Virginia/Kentucky border at the turn of the 20th century. Maybe it's just that the title sounds like the title of a Western. (And the book does have some plot elements in common with westerns, too; namely, the struggle to impose the rule of law in a lawless, violent place.)The book interweaves 3 elements:1) A Pygmalion-style love story. A young engineer, Jack Hale, while scouting the mountains of the Cumberland Plateau, takes an interest in a girl (June Tolliver) from a backwoods mountain family; he gets permission from her father to pay for her education, farther and farther afield, eventually sending her all the way to New York. Along the way the two fall in love.2) The story of two feuding clans, the Tollivers and Falins. Partly because of his interest in June Tolliver, and partly because of his efforts to bring law and order to the region, Jack Hale gets caught in the middle of the feud, antagonizing both sides.3) The story of how the coming of the railroads, and the coal and iron industry, brought rapid changes to a region and a culture which had been largely isolated for a century. The author, himself a coal and real estate speculator in the region, knew the details of these changes, and the people of the area, intimately; many of the characters, and the feud in the novel, are likely based on real people he knew.While the author mixes these 3 elements fairly skillfully, it's really aspect #3- the opportunity of having an inside look at a legendary but vanished hillbilly culture, and a ringside seat for a time of historic change- which provides the primary reason for reading this novel today. The love story really isn't all that interesting; even the author of this edition's foreword (John Ed Pearce) admits that the hero, Hale, is "impossibly brave and pure", and that his love interest "is only slightly more believable". The middle portion of the book, which follows her progression from "barefoot hick" to "cultured society girl" to "barefoot hick who is now too educated to be happy with her family anymore", gets a bit dull. Still, the book deserves its status as a classic of American regionalism. If that's something which interests you, this is definitely worthwhile.

  • Samantha Shepherd
    2019-05-21 20:59

    This was part of my Appalachian Lit class in college. John Fox, Jr, who was business man from Lexington, KY, really did come to the mountains of Southeastern KY and Southwestern, VA in the early days (around 1900?) to help settle the territory. He came seeking to buy coal and timber for cheap from the people who had lived there, largely uneducated and unchanged, since Daniel Boone's days. This guy is supposed to be the enemy. He came to take advantage and force "normal" life on my (and probably your) ancestors. His book is in many ways demeaning to the Appalachian population. So why does it have to be so damn good?It's a love story, ya'll (or, perhaps, more appropriately, you'ns). He constructs the tale of a man (like himself) who came to buy coal and start the town of Big Stone Gap, VA (which he did). His coal-buying prospects lead him across the Big Black Mountain to Harlan County, KY. (Harlan Co. just happens to be where my husband is from.) There he meets a little girl who is very intelligent despite her lack of formal education. He gets permission from her father to send her to boarding school in Big Stone. From there, her education takes her farther and farther from her home. First to Lexington, then to New York. When she returns home and a proper and accomplished young lady, the main character (based on real-life Fox) falls in love with her. However, they've both changed. Years of living in New York have made her refined; while years of living in "the gap" has made him a rough man. Worse than that, she's a fish-out-of-water. The little girl, now grown, has to return to backwoods Harlan County after years of living in New York. She doesn't fit in. She doesn't know how to do the work that self-sufficient farm life asks; she doesn't know how to relate to other women from the area. I think the reason I like this book so much is because, despite the fact that Fox paints the majority of people as backwoods, rednecks who marry their cousins, the story of the girl herself poses the question: What happens to a girl who leaves home? Is there a way back?

  • Cody
    2019-05-08 17:09

    I liked this book although some of the passages about coal and iron ore get a bit long (think MOBY-DICK). But the love story is beautiful and the Fox's writing is spot on in his descriptions of the mountains and his dialect writing.Any fan of Appalachian literature or resident of the Appalachian Mountain area should read this. I hope to see the outdoor drama next summer to refresh my memory of it.

  • Beth
    2019-05-23 21:53

    I love Appalachian fiction. My grandmother recommended this book to me. She read it in grade school and she said it would help me to know what it was like when she was growing up. I loved it. I loved reading about the way of life in the mountains back then. I found it interesting that once June left it changed her and she could never really go back again and be completely happy. A common theme in novels, she was now stuck between worlds. I often think my own grandmother felt this way once she left the mountains for city life. I appreciate Appalachian fiction like this that shows the beauty and depth of the culture of the region. It's characters also have depth, and we begin to understand why they feud. Fox explains why it is such a part of their way of life instead of depicting the stereotypical Hatfield and McCoy feuding hillbillies. We learn of their traditions, their beliefs, and their family pride. I loved this book, and maybe it's my connection to the area. The fictional Gap that this took place in is described as very close to where my family comes from, so there was a definite personal cord that this story struck. I recommend it to lovers of Appalachian fiction.

  • Dan Chance
    2019-05-04 13:52

    This is perhaps a product of its time in that the action and the plot begin very unobtrusively. You meet the characters as though glimpsed through the trees of the Appalachian forest. It is hard to believe the isolation of small homesteads or even townships in the mountains. While Einstein was proving the theory of relativity, the Hatfields were killing the McCoys over some slight or imagined slight. The nation makes mistakes and moves on, regions once prosperous die and people move out. Some of them do. A mountain girl child grows up and a young mine engineer grows too old for the young woman he discovered near her cabin but has the decency to let her live the life she chooses from the options he has shown her. My copy was published in 1908. I've forgotten where I found it but I felt like it was worth reading and I was right.

  • Rick Shrader
    2019-04-29 19:05

    This is my third John Fox, Jr. book. I like reading these westerns written in the vein of Grey and L’Amour. Fox wrote this in 1909 and my copy has three previous names in it, none of which are dated. This is a story about the Virginia and Kentucky wilderness before “civilization” took over. It is about a generations-long feud between two families, I wonder if it was a take-off on the Hatfield and McCoys. In the end the good guy gets the horse, the house, the land, and the girl. Some things never see my web site for more book reviews

  • Tom
    2019-05-18 16:05

    My motivation for reading this book comes from my grandfather. He was reading "Lonesome Pine" when my mother was born. He named his daughter after the main character in this book. What an insight into my grandfather!Intrigue, venture, descriptive, Love, fueding, fighting and fussing, Keeps you "on your seat." Old Kentucky/Virginia towns are dipicted as they were. Boom and Bust. John Hale found, making the world his own and alone was impossible. "It is hard for a hungry man to feed imslef with a fork that has but two tines." This book will afect your life!

  • Judy
    2019-05-13 15:21

    As I read, I kept wondering if I'd read this book before. So much of it was familiar and predictable. Then it dawned on me that the story was very similar to Kady by Patience Stapleton. Kady was published in 1888, 20 years before this book.

  • James
    2019-05-04 22:04

    This book and his "Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come" are two of my all-time favorite stories. Fox is buried in the same Paris, KY cemetery where my brother-in-law, Al Proctor is buried.

  • Bill Porter
    2019-05-10 21:51

    Loved this book. Probably the best of Fox's novels. Am kind of biased since I am up in the area the story is set in a lot and have connections through family of the real-life inspirations of a few of the characters. The Red Fox was in the same Civil War unit as my great-great-great-grandfather and (true story) my mother went to school and worked with Devil John's (Devil Judd in the book) grandson. Also like the outdoor production held in Big Stone Gap each season.

  • Sheryl
    2019-04-27 19:00

    My dearest friend gave me this book around Easter. I don't recall exactly where she found it, maybe an estate sale. It was written by John Fox, Jr, published in 1908. A beautiful, tumultuous love story in the coal mines and mountains of Stone Gap. It was slow to start but soon it pulled me in and I looked forward to my half hour of reading it at the end of the day. And this story is referenced in play form in Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap.

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-13 18:09

    Great story!!

  • Kelly
    2019-04-29 20:17

    I liked the author's use of the vernacular and it was very charming overall, but not earth shattering

  • Jenny Harrison
    2019-04-29 16:21

    It is a romance written over 100 years ago. The story is very well told. Again it's a romance.

  • Cindy
    2019-05-20 16:20

    3.5 stars as this was a good story and I liked the main characters. Did tend to be long in places but really picked up in the second half.

  • Vivian
    2019-05-01 17:52

    This Cinderalla / Romeo & Juliet epic, set in Appalachia at the turn of the last century, is more than a winter/summer love story but is a love story of place as well. It is an exploration of human nature, the impact of environment on conduct, the power of education over ignorance, and even the dawn of the 'rule of law'. I read this edition while summering at my grandfather's place so many years ago that there was really not much else to do than read and this was at hand. As a teenager I could wander about his little two acres which included two orchards, plenty of garden, raspberries, hollyhocks, lots of lawn, a chicken house, a barn, cows, pigs, rabbits in hutches, a clothesline, an outdoor privy, a wood-burning stove for cooking, no running water in the house, a little store within walking distance, trees to climb and hide in, irrigation ditches. It was a simple matter to throw myself into reading in the cool of the house when the fascination of board games with cousins wore off and my only company was younger sisters who held no interest for me. I loved this book.And now, after all these years I've read it again. I don't love stories now as I did then. But I can appreciate the panoramic proportions more. My own grandmother was 14 years younger than my grandfather and reading this gives me a glimpse of how their romance may have unfolded over the years. Our society has ridden the rail of industrialization (industrial EVERYTHING -- education, medicine, farming, etc) and is hearkening back to the roots of simpler times. Full circle.

  • Cathy
    2019-04-29 15:08

    This is the second time in my life that I read this for my mom. I couldn't remember how all the characters turned out, so it was suspenseful at the end. This provides an interesting contrast with Harriette Arnow's "The Dollmaker." In "Lonesome Pine," the country ways are viewed as unjust and bloody, and escaping the region was a step upwards for June. In "The Dollmaker," the country ways were seen as moral and good, and leaving for the city brought in negative influences that brought immorality and murder. There is irony in "Lonesome Pine," in that, with Hale's help, June learns to care not only about absolute morality rather than clan loyalty, but she also learns to care about superficial things and becomes so cultured that she feels disgusted with Hale himself. Eventually, though, she does see the superficial things for what they are and appreciates the deeper good in Hale. Combining the "Lonesome Dove" and "The Dollmaker," I would say that good and bad can co-exist in a society anywhere, whether in the country or the city. I think my mom enjoyed this book because of the "country charm," and that we both have known dear people like this - like Uncle Billy and Ole Hon - good, honest, kindly people. I was disappointed, however, in the Red Fox character, in his insanity. Religion can be a source of compassion, generosity, and help far removed from Red Fox's crime of murder.

  • Garth Mailman
    2019-04-29 19:05

    We’ve all heard about the Hatfields and the McCoys and a similar feud serves as background for this tale set at the turn of the Nineteenth Century. This one supposedly began when one school boy made fun of another’s patched jeans. There really is a place on the Virginia/Kentucky Border called Big Stone Gap--I always thought it was fictitious. More recently neighbouring Harlan County is the setting for the 5-season TV series Justified. For those unfamiliar with Appalachia and whose only contact with hill-billy lifestyle is the more sedate The Waltons the milieu described here is terra incognita. The arcadian setting is dramatically at odds with the blight that coal mining, railroads, and company towns, that is about to descend on these backwoods people, will bring. Another contrast is that between the concept of hospitality and the xenophobia that is so apparent. Once more we see a girl sent away to town for schooling returning to the hoggish manners of her chauvinist male relatives and finding it off-putting. Progress means finding a once pristine brook polluted with sawdust and coal dust. While away at school the lass did not write home because there was no one at home who could read. The book is a period piece. At times it makes about as much sense as the blood feuds it describes. The boom and bust that coal mining and iron smelting brought to these hills left scars on the land and on the souls of the people who inhabited it. The story has a Hollywood ending.

  • Kim
    2019-05-24 21:00

    I wasn't too keen to read Trail of the Lonesome Pine, especially since it was required reading for a class. But after reading it, it has become one of my favorite novels. It's an Appalachian romance, with some details of the rise of the coal industry and feuds. It took me a bit to fully get into, but once I did I couldn't stop reading it. My cousin and I (whom is also taking the class with me) plowed through the last 100+ pages in no time. You don't know what's going to happen and you just want Hale and June to be happy.There's always drama unfolding and June and Hale go through so many changes. It's by no means a perfect novel. We only ever know June's age late into the book. There's also no definite telling of the passage of time that takes place so that becomes disorienting at times. But these flaws shouldn't turn you away. I feel as if this is an Appalachian version of Pride and Prejudice in a way. So if you love tense romances then you should definitely read this book.

  • Craig
    2019-05-01 17:11

    I loved this book. Set in Appalachia (Virginia/Kentucky) in the late 1800s, John Hale, a geologist, is interested in securing coal claims to develop the Cumberland Gap area. On one of his forays, he meets June Tolliver, a backwards country girl (just a child) who captivates him. She is equally intrigued with Hale. Their platonic relationship develops over time; he helps her to gain an education and shed her hillbilly ways - and even gain the acclaim of Eastern society. This is a story of developing Appalachia: the feud between the Tollivers and Falins; boomtown development and eventual bust; love and rivalries. Author John Fox tells a wonderful tale with his unique style. THIS IS GREAT STORYTELLING. I may read this book a second time. Truly great literature. I recommend this book to all readers.

  • Melody Michelle
    2019-05-16 16:07

    I really enjoyed reading this book for a number of reasons. First, I've been reading books with magical elements lately and I was in the mood to read something more 'realistic'. This book fit that mood. Secondly, I enjoyed Fox's style of writing because it isn't quite polished. There are moments in which I found myself wanting better transitions, or more in-depth explanations. For some strange reason it was delightful to read something that didn't scream: "I'm written perfectly"! Lastly, I'm a big fan of the woods, cabins, and any type of hiking trail. Much of the story exists in those places. So, with my current mood, Fox's writing style, and the location of the story, I've chosen to give this one a four star.

  • Kay
    2019-04-27 14:10

    Yes, by today's standards it is creepy to have an older man fall in love with someone he refers to as a little girl, but this is a classic romance of old. Set in the mountains fo Virginia and kentucky, it is not a predictable Disney-style story, so happy endings come hard and harsh tragedy abounds. By the way, feel free to watch the 1936 film of the same name starring Fred MacMurray and Sylvia Sydney. It won't ruin the book at all for you. Although it's based on the book, there are few similarities in the storyline.

  • Kimbolimbo
    2019-05-24 17:08

    So, I thought this book was supposed to be a western...and in a sense it was, but it takes place in the Appalachian Mountains (a very different "west" than I expected). The cowboy's role is replaced by hicks with moonshine stills and very bad grammar. The hero remains that quiet honorable law-abiding man who defends mistreated women/girls, but he doesn't drive cattle or roam the sage flats instead he is a geologist/engineer looking for unclaimed coal mines. Interesting read, but nowhere as good as Zane Grey.

  • Courtney
    2019-05-24 16:59

    I started out listening to this in snatches here and there but today I listened to the remaining few hours in one sitting. Up until the present month I was thinking I didn't enjoy it as much as the author's other works but being able to bask in it fully made me realize that it is just as gratifying. Admittedly, I think I would have enjoyed it more as a read than a listen. The narrator's voice for June is SO annoying that it almost made me quit early on. Should I ever want to enjoy it again I will definitely pursue the written word over a recorded performance of it.

  • Jan
    2019-05-14 13:58

    I read this because of all the references to it in "Gilead". It was pretty educational about the Appalachian area and actually got me to thinking about their dialect. Something in the book made me think Scottish, and sure enough when I looked into it many of their expressions are centuries old Scottish. They were just so isolated that they didn't change with the rest of the world. Such a pretty book and a great study into the development of that area with their family feuds (once again an influence of Scottish feudal lords)and coal-mining booms and busts.

  • A.J.
    2019-05-09 16:16

    I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of the lives of the people of the Kentucky mountains and the way that their lives changed as 'furriners' bring their own notions of law and order and civilisation into the area in the hunt for coal and iron ore. The book was a top seller in 1908 and 1909 and it's easy to see why: Fox's writing is descriptive without being verbose and his tale of warring clans in the mountains is easy to believe. I was a little disappointed with the way Dave's part of the story turned out (I felt Fox had run out of energy at that point), but otherwise thought it was a good read.

  • Julia
    2019-05-04 15:12

    A little bit weird having the businessman fall in love with a young girl, but at least he waited until she grew up to reveal it to her. Interesting to see how she became more and more urban, as he paid for her New York City education, and for him to become more and more backwoodsman as he lived and worked around his mining interests. Loved all the scenic mountain descriptions. It was good to learn about the day to day life of these simple, hard-working people.

  • Andrew
    2019-05-17 13:53

    Liking Fox more and more - don't know if I'm getting to better material or if I'm just getting used to him. This story is partially Pocahontas, partially Pygmalion, and is interesting to consider as a tale of domestic colonialism. Through the novels and short stories, Fox builds a fairly complete world - characters and scenarios often recur - which is rewarding. Not sure the actual plot or characters of this piece will persist in my memory, but was an enjoyable read.

  • Ferris
    2019-05-15 17:01

    Audiobook......A sweet love story and some interesting historical fiction....This novel is set in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, and chronicles the transition of mountain dwellers from a time of little to no contact with the world at large to a time when the search for coal, the expansion of the rail system, and the influx of speculators changed everything. Family feuds and a sweet love story make it enjoyable as a story, and the history is informative, if not surprising.

  • Frances
    2019-04-30 21:51

    First published in 1908, this is considered a western and is in the sense most people still needed guns for hunting and protection especially with a feud going on. Set in and around the Big Stone Gap area of western Virginia, the story includes historical information about the coal mining boom and bust; about education and the ways of life of mountain dwellers and small town happenings. Plus it's a love story ;-)