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Waiting on Wednesday: The Ballad of Tom Dooley

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Ballad of Tom Dooley
Title: The Ballad of Tom Dooley
Author: Sharyn McCrumb
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Synopsis from the author's website
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley. Last summer heralded Sharyn McCrumb's return to her critically-acclaimed Appalachian Ballad series. Now from the pen of the award-winning Appalachian writer comes the true story behind the most famous mountain ballad of all: the legend of Tom Dooley

The folk song, made famous by the Kingston Trio, tells the story of a tragedy in the North Carolina mountains in the aftermath of the Civil War. Laura Foster, a simple country girl, was murdered and buried in a shallow grave on a mountain side, and her lover Tom Dula was hanged for the crime. The sensational elements in the case attracted national attention: a man and his beautiful married lover accused of murdering the other woman; the former governor of North Carolina spearheading the defense; and a noble gesture from the prisoner on the eve of his execution, saving the woman he really loved.

In The Ballad of Tom Dooley, what began as a fictional re-telling of the historical account became an astonishing revelation of the real motives and the real culprit in the murder of Laura Foster. With the help of Wilkes County historians, lawyers, and researchers, Sharyn McCrumb visited the actual sites, studied the legal evidence, and uncovered a missing piece of the story that will shock those who think they already know what happened. What seemed at first to be a sordid tale of adultery and betrayal was transformed by the new discoveries into an Appalachian Wuthering Heights.

The Ballad of Tom Dooley brings to life the star-crossed lovers of this mountain tragedy with the understanding and compassion that Sharyn McCrumb brings to her compelling tales of Appalachia. The new information unearthed by her research may also bring belated justice to an innocent man.

What are you waiting on this week?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore, and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.


  1. Wow -- this sounds marvelous! I'm not really a true crime kind of girl but everything about this book intrigues me! So glad you highlighted it -- I've added it to my TBR as well!

  2. Interesting pick, one that I haven't heard of before.

  3. This sounds very interesting. I love the Kingston Trio song about Tom Dooley.
    My Twilight WOW


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