Reviews & Awards

December 2014: Burley reviewed in the Journal of Folklore Research reviews.

October 2014: Burley: Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century receives Wayland D. Hand Prize


“Burley traces the history of burley tobacco from the colonial period to the present. Using her extensive interviews with farmers, Ann Ferrell carries the reader through the contemporary cycle of planting and harvest, a time ‘in which King Burley no longer reigns and the future is uncertain.’ This fine book captures both the history and the heart of Kentucky and its tobacco world.”

—William Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease:
Voices of the Mississippi Blues

“In Burley, Ann Ferrell combines historical and ethnographic procedures to create a compelling account of agricultural processes, changes, and policies. She exemplifies contemporary folkloristic practice and employs the techniques of oral history while contributing richly to our understanding of rural culture and the key issues of tradition, memory, and heritage.”

—Henry Glassie, College Professor Emeritus of Folklore, Indiana University

“This book’s description of the shift to viewing tobacco as a ‘heritage’ crop in Kentucky and what that means is an excellent contribution to the literature.”

—Ann Kingsolver, author of Tobacco Town Futures: Global Encounters in Rural Kentucky

Burley is a fascinating account of farmers and traditions surrounding a crop with a unique and long history in America, a crop that has seemingly gone from royalty to ruin in the space of the last fifty years. Ferrell does a terrific job probing the angst of contemporary producers, and along the way documents a culture that is simultaneously dynamic and conservative, changing and yet traditional.”

—Sandy Rikoon, Curators Distinguished Professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri

“[Ferrell] leaves the reader with an intimate look at those continuing to carry on Kentucky’s tobacco traditions and heritage. […] Ferrell consistently reminds us there are real people being hurt by it, real families losing real money and more; a way of life they took for granted for generations.”
                      Bowling Green Daily News

“Ferrell has shined light on both the economic and cultural significance of tobacco farming in the state.”
                                                            Kentucky Monthly

“This book is an interesting, well-written, and well-researched look at a crucial yet controversial piece of Kentucky history.”
         Kentucky Kaleidoscope

“An illuminating account of how burley tobacco, once a proud symbol of the economic strength and cultural heritage of the commonwealth, has in recent years been scrubbed from the consciousness and public image of Kentucky, and the impact this has had upon tobacco farmers in the state.” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“Ferrell has crafted a thoughtful, well-written, and often insightful account of one tobacco variety that nicely complements recent historical scholarship on American tobacco production.” Agricultural History