Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State

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The American Guide Series, when completed, will include a guidebook for every State in the Union. As each State studies and describes its history, natural endowments, and special interests, the paradox of diversity and homogeneity will become apparent. For each State has a special personality due to its topography, people, and culture, while certain qualities and interests bind all the States together.

These guidebooks will find place in schools, colleges, and libraries; and private individuals will consult them for information available elsewhere only in word-of-mouth tradition or obscure archives and files. For these volumes are more than simply guidebooks: they are wide-angle reference books as well. And this is not to say that the guide aspect has been neglected -- to be reassured on this point one needs only to read with attention one of the many tours included.

The account of Kentucky's settlement and of the brave adventure of its great men has brought romance and charm to novels, poems, and stories which have carried the name of Kentucky far and wide and have endeared the State to many who live beyond its borders. Readers have been harrowed by details of poverty and hard living, or soothed by the picturesque. In the present guidebook they will learn things about the State that will give them a more rounded and balanced picture. Kentucky's culture, only a century and a half old, has been enriched by the customs and traditions of other regions and other lands. Kentucky was the crossroads of migration, both from the seaboard and from Europe, as the pioneers moved west or south. People flowed into the State, some to remain, some to continue their journeys, but in either case they made a contribution. The traveler today will find evidences not only of earlier white culture and of the progress that has been made in the past fifty years, but also traces of prehistoric occupation.

For many years I have been thinking about a book on the subject, "Why are Kentuckians as they are?" I have thought of the early pioneers, their contributions to Kentucky, the settlements they established, the houses they built, and the civilization that was erected on


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Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State


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