Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk

Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780544932531. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780544930834. SOC SCI
Exploring the musical history of Winchester, VA, journalist Lingan uses the lens of Jim McCoy, local honky-tonk owner and DJ, who first gave Virginia Patterson Hensley, aka Patsy Cline, airtime on country radio, to pen a requiem to Americana, a tribute to a small mountaintop town, honky-tonk, and a country singer who died too soon. McCoy's hilltop honky-tonk bar becomes a backdrop as the author extensively documents its down-home barbecues, late-night karaoke, and the metamorphosis of a community in light of modernity. Winchester, situated in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley, could be called a microcosm of America. Classism, racism, and immigration are themes the author attempts to develop via cross-sectional interviews; however, these conversations are too brief to offer adequate context to complex issues. The author's empathy for the marginalized population of Winchester is evident; however, his assessment is limited as an outsider with inadequate research.
VERDICT Readers interested in Patsy Cline and the Shenandoah Valley will appreciate the history and in-depth details of various localities.
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