Tar Heel Lightnin'
How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World
By Daniel S. Pierce
312 pp., 7 x 10, 76 halftones, notes, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5355-6
Published: October 2019
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5356-3
Published: August 2019
Buy this Book
- Hardcover $32.50
- E-Book $22.99
Folklore, popular culture, and changing laws have helped fuel a renaissance in making and drinking commercial moonshine, and Pierce shows how today's producers understand their ties to the past. Above all, this book reveals that moonshine's long, colorful history features surprises that can change how we understand a state and a region.
About the Author
Daniel S. Pierce is professor of history at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His previous books include Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France.
For more information about Daniel S. Pierce, visit the Author Page.
"A crucial read, rich in both historical detail and folklore, dotted with compelling photos and century-old graphics."--Capital at Play
“Pierce’s book is a crucial read, rich in both historical detail and folklore, dotted with compelling photos and century-old graphics, and featuring extended looks at everyone from Sutton, Polk County bootlegger Betty Sims, and The Andy Griffith Show, to contemporary (and legal) locals like Troy & Sons’ Troy Ball and Howling Moon Distillery’s Cody Bradford.” --Capital at Play
“No dry academic study, the book is filled with intoxicating asides on moonshine humor, music, movies, road trips, and more.”--WNC
“Like all powerful historical accounts, Pierce’s book both humanizes and complicates its subject. Stripping away cliches, it reframes moonshining as not merely a symbol of rebellion but also as the fruit of considerable ingenuity and a fundamental drive to survive.”--Mountain Xpress
“Well informed and entertainingly written. . . . The greatest strength of the book is its tone, which is engaging and conversational. Discussions of popular culture representations of moonshiners complement the historical narrative, and entertaining asides such as the author’s “North Carolina Moonshine Playlist” (in chapter 14) add flavor and a touch of whimsy to the book.”--CHOICE
“Tar Heel Lightnin’ proves that moonshine is the key to understanding North Carolina’s history. In doing so, author Daniel Pierce succeeds in treating moonshiners historically with the necessary caveats and without romanticizing criminals into being wholesome heroes. Additionally, Tar Heel Lightnin’ discusses the context of moonshine’s role in history by addressing southern poverty, southern justice, and southern pride.”--Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books