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Mud Creek Medicine: The Life of Eula Hall and the Fight for Appalachia

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From deep in the mountains of Appalachia to the steps of Capitol Hill, Mud Creek Medicine chronicles the life of an iconoclastic woman with a resolute spirit to help her people. Eula Hall, born into abject poverty in Greasy Creek, Kentucky, found herself — through sheer determination and will — at the center of a century-long struggle to lift up a part of America that is to From deep in the mountains of Appalachia to the steps of Capitol Hill, Mud Creek Medicine chronicles the life of an iconoclastic woman with a resolute spirit to help her people. Eula Hall, born into abject poverty in Greasy Creek, Kentucky, found herself — through sheer determination and will — at the center of a century-long struggle to lift up a part of America that is too often forgotten. Through countless interviews and meticulous research, Kiran Bhatraju, a native of Eastern Kentucky, deftly traces Eula's life from impoverished hired girl to community activist. Eula served as a foot soldier in the War on Poverty, President Lyndon B. Johnson's noble attempt to change the trajectory of a timeless people. That work sparked her determination to follow her own brand of tough-love, bootstrapped compassion for a lifetime. Eula's story shows how one woman could make a difference through a clear-eyed understanding of the nexus between politics, wealth, labor, and disease. Mud Creek Medicine takes the reader through Eula's experiences with moonshining, labor strikes, and fighting against severe domestic abuse, to eventually building and managing her clinic. After a mysterious arson in 1982, many people thought the clinic would close forever, but Eula fought back and rebuilt the clinic, which stands today in Floyd County, Kentucky. Powerful and profound, Mud Creek Medicine challenges perceptions of Appalachia, and shows that the personal stories of individuals in the mountains often do rise to the heights of drama and intrigue, and reach to the depths of the American experience. Eula Hall's life is no exception. She fought on, and at times risked her life, not for fame or accolades but, in her words, "for the people."


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From deep in the mountains of Appalachia to the steps of Capitol Hill, Mud Creek Medicine chronicles the life of an iconoclastic woman with a resolute spirit to help her people. Eula Hall, born into abject poverty in Greasy Creek, Kentucky, found herself — through sheer determination and will — at the center of a century-long struggle to lift up a part of America that is to From deep in the mountains of Appalachia to the steps of Capitol Hill, Mud Creek Medicine chronicles the life of an iconoclastic woman with a resolute spirit to help her people. Eula Hall, born into abject poverty in Greasy Creek, Kentucky, found herself — through sheer determination and will — at the center of a century-long struggle to lift up a part of America that is too often forgotten. Through countless interviews and meticulous research, Kiran Bhatraju, a native of Eastern Kentucky, deftly traces Eula's life from impoverished hired girl to community activist. Eula served as a foot soldier in the War on Poverty, President Lyndon B. Johnson's noble attempt to change the trajectory of a timeless people. That work sparked her determination to follow her own brand of tough-love, bootstrapped compassion for a lifetime. Eula's story shows how one woman could make a difference through a clear-eyed understanding of the nexus between politics, wealth, labor, and disease. Mud Creek Medicine takes the reader through Eula's experiences with moonshining, labor strikes, and fighting against severe domestic abuse, to eventually building and managing her clinic. After a mysterious arson in 1982, many people thought the clinic would close forever, but Eula fought back and rebuilt the clinic, which stands today in Floyd County, Kentucky. Powerful and profound, Mud Creek Medicine challenges perceptions of Appalachia, and shows that the personal stories of individuals in the mountains often do rise to the heights of drama and intrigue, and reach to the depths of the American experience. Eula Hall's life is no exception. She fought on, and at times risked her life, not for fame or accolades but, in her words, "for the people."

30 review for Mud Creek Medicine: The Life of Eula Hall and the Fight for Appalachia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Bhatraju brings to life an inspiring story of a woman who has more determination in her little finger than most people have in their entire body. Eula Hall lived in poverty that most of us have never experienced or likely will. She was able to understand what it would take to improve the lives of those in the hollers of Floyd and Pike County - eastern Ky. For over 50 years this woman has argued with local, county, state and federal government to get things done. She is a woman to be studied and m Bhatraju brings to life an inspiring story of a woman who has more determination in her little finger than most people have in their entire body. Eula Hall lived in poverty that most of us have never experienced or likely will. She was able to understand what it would take to improve the lives of those in the hollers of Floyd and Pike County - eastern Ky. For over 50 years this woman has argued with local, county, state and federal government to get things done. She is a woman to be studied and may her struggles and successes continue to be a great model for public health officers, organizers, and of course young women throughout the United States. Eula Hall has a story worth knowing and Bhatraju gave her life a fine telling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nathan J Cryder

    Inspirational Eula Hall’s story provides hope and inspiration to a region that continues to struggle with poverty, drug addiction, and poor health. The writing is clear and beautifully crafted in a way that does justice to the life of one of Appalachia’s most extraordinary figures. We get to know this remarkable woman as a force of nature with all the charm and character one can expect from someone shaped by a region with such a storied and too-often tragic past. From slinging moonshine in order Inspirational Eula Hall’s story provides hope and inspiration to a region that continues to struggle with poverty, drug addiction, and poor health. The writing is clear and beautifully crafted in a way that does justice to the life of one of Appalachia’s most extraordinary figures. We get to know this remarkable woman as a force of nature with all the charm and character one can expect from someone shaped by a region with such a storied and too-often tragic past. From slinging moonshine in order to make ends meat to sharing the stage with Kennedys and Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Eula’s story is one that will resonate powerfully with anyone who favors the underdog and believes in the unlimited capacity of the human spirit to be a source of good in the world. Unsung Appalachian heroes are still around today, but perhaps none who embody the complexity of the region as perfectly as Eula Hall.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Selma Porobic

    Mud Creek Medicine is about an inspiring, compassionate woman who fought against all the struggles and injustices of the Appalachian people. With little education and plenty of her own personal problems involving her abusive, unsupportive husband, Eula never let her problems tear her dreams down. I enjoyed the book because it shows that anyone can make a difference in their community and that you should never give up. I think the author did an amazing job depicting Eula's journey from her early Mud Creek Medicine is about an inspiring, compassionate woman who fought against all the struggles and injustices of the Appalachian people. With little education and plenty of her own personal problems involving her abusive, unsupportive husband, Eula never let her problems tear her dreams down. I enjoyed the book because it shows that anyone can make a difference in their community and that you should never give up. I think the author did an amazing job depicting Eula's journey from her early childhood doing simple acts of kindness to building her own health center that admits all patients. I liked how the author added dialogue to the text instead of just all facts, which made the story more interesting to me. Also I liked how Kiran Bhatraju mentioned not only the rewards and the good moments, but also the struggles along the way to show that success did not come easy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Fontane

    Mud Creek Medicine is a biography of Eula Hall, the woman who fought for health care for the coal minors in Appalachia. Born Eula Riley in Greasy Creek Holler, Kentucky on October 29, 1927, Eula was only able to attend school through 8th grade. However, her desire to help people led her to decide health care was the most needed commodity for the poor people in her area. The wealthy were exploiting the workers, destroying the environment and living a life of luxury. And she began her fight--for h Mud Creek Medicine is a biography of Eula Hall, the woman who fought for health care for the coal minors in Appalachia. Born Eula Riley in Greasy Creek Holler, Kentucky on October 29, 1927, Eula was only able to attend school through 8th grade. However, her desire to help people led her to decide health care was the most needed commodity for the poor people in her area. The wealthy were exploiting the workers, destroying the environment and living a life of luxury. And she began her fight--for herself, for her family, for her community, and in the face of horrific odds, made a real difference in her world. She married McKinley Hall at the age of 17, and bore him 5 children. He was a coal minor and he beat her, abused her, tried to stop her from setting up a clinic for others, which she did in a small trailer in their back yard. This all happened during the "War on Poverty," and Eula learned how ineffective government usually was. Although she got a grant to enlarge her clinic, she soon found out her "new improved" clinic was not there to take care of the people with health problems, but a way-station to refer the people to a hospital or pharmacy, which they couldn't afford. There was great fan-fare about "helping the people" when no real help was given. She backed out and started again, giving first aid, education and help to those she could. When she finally had a real clinic going which gave help to those she could with doctors who were willing to work for minimal wages and great satisfaction, it was burnt down. Even this didn't stop Eula. She fought her way through government obstacles and rebuilt it bigger and better than ever. Along the way she met and worked with (or against) many well-known political personages. This is a detailed, well-researched documentary of the hardships she went through to help her people. The author, Kiran Bhatraju, is the son of one of the many immigrant doctors who worked at the clinic. And while he mentions his father twice in the book, the story is not about him or other medical personnel who helped her, but about Eula and her fight for health care in Appalachia. It is an inspiring book which shows what one person who is truly dedicated can do in spite of immense personal and social obstacles. And if you stop and think, it is particularly appropriate for us now that the haves and have-nots are emerging again. Some of the very problems she faced (and we thought had been conquered) are re-emerging in our own attempts to provide health care for the poor. We need a Eula again, today.

  5. 5 out of 5

    peggy murphy mercado

    This is an important book and one that should be required reading in civics class, social studies and social work. Though maybe it can be argued that there are other classes that should require it as well. I say this because Apalachia is little talked about. Eula Hall, the heroine of this book and of the Mud Creek Medical Center or as it is now known, Eula Hall Medical Center, is an important community leader. She is a testamony to what it means to serve one's community. Her work highlights the This is an important book and one that should be required reading in civics class, social studies and social work. Though maybe it can be argued that there are other classes that should require it as well. I say this because Apalachia is little talked about. Eula Hall, the heroine of this book and of the Mud Creek Medical Center or as it is now known, Eula Hall Medical Center, is an important community leader. She is a testamony to what it means to serve one's community. Her work highlights the importance of engaging people who are managing a particular issue with their own ideas and solutions for problem solving. Whenever I read about a person such as Eula Hall, I admire the courage it takes to do the right thing even in the midst of possible personal danger. Thank you Goodreads for the privilege of winning this book and being able to learn about this story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jo-Ann Murphy

    I was thrilled to receive this book the the Goodreads giveaway. I am very interested in theis woman's amazing story. This is the fascinating story of a remarkable woman in the heart of rural Kentucky who used faith and courage to fight against big business and corruption to improve the lives of the victimized.. Eula Hall has led a rough life and proved that one person can do anything against all odds. She managed to change the lives of countless poor people bringing them safe water and healthcare I was thrilled to receive this book the the Goodreads giveaway. I am very interested in theis woman's amazing story. This is the fascinating story of a remarkable woman in the heart of rural Kentucky who used faith and courage to fight against big business and corruption to improve the lives of the victimized.. Eula Hall has led a rough life and proved that one person can do anything against all odds. She managed to change the lives of countless poor people bringing them safe water and healthcare as part of improving their lives. This is a well written book that holds your interest while explaining the complexities Eula had to navigate to accomplish her goals. A truly inspirational story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This book details the life of a truly incredible woman. Eula Hall fought for what she believed in and didn't let anyone stop her. Although nonfiction, this book reads like a story. It includes dialogue and details that usually aren't present in nonfiction, which made it more enjoyable to read. I feel like the author spent a little too much time describing Eula's childhood. Although t is important to know her background and why she became an activist, I felt that this part could have been much sh This book details the life of a truly incredible woman. Eula Hall fought for what she believed in and didn't let anyone stop her. Although nonfiction, this book reads like a story. It includes dialogue and details that usually aren't present in nonfiction, which made it more enjoyable to read. I feel like the author spent a little too much time describing Eula's childhood. Although t is important to know her background and why she became an activist, I felt that this part could have been much shorter. Also, this doesn't affect the rating of the book, the editor was terrible. I found so many typos within the pages that I felt could have easily been avoided.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alethea Hammer

    History is the total of all the stories of all the people. This is a good story. Through the lens of this one life you get a glimpse of the history of a part of America. This particular story is colored just a bit by the authors left spin and his unadulterated hero-worship of LBJ, Sargent Shriver and other luminaries of the War on Poverty. A few grains of salt are in order. Still its a very good story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gibson

    I enjoyed this book. It was an easy read. There was nothing flashy about the writing or presentation, just very real and well done. Perhaps like the subject herself :) Perhaps the best part is that proceeds from your purchase go to the Eula Hall Patient Assistance fund, and Eula Hall Scholarship Fund. After reading the book you should want to buy a few more copies for this reason alone. Thanks to the author and Eula Hall!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lexi Billick

    I had to read this book for school. It was awful. I had to fight my way through it. I usually love a good memoir but this was awful. The writing style was very dry and the subject matter was something i just didn't care about. There was a lot of talk of unions and things that just don't matter to me. I will never read this book again. I had to read this book for school. It was awful. I had to fight my way through it. I usually love a good memoir but this was awful. The writing style was very dry and the subject matter was something i just didn't care about. There was a lot of talk of unions and things that just don't matter to me. I will never read this book again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave Mills

    Eula Hall is one remarkable woman. She should be president. Unfortunately, Kiran Bhatraju's writing didn't quite reach the heights of his subject. And whoever edited the book should find different work. Eula Hall is one remarkable woman. She should be president. Unfortunately, Kiran Bhatraju's writing didn't quite reach the heights of his subject. And whoever edited the book should find different work.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Great biography about an amazing women, but also about social and geographical hardships overcome by personal strength.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Debra

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Conley

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bec Rindler

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pat Parkhurst

  19. 5 out of 5

    Abby

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karly

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  23. 4 out of 5

    April Stewart

  24. 4 out of 5

    Douglas B Petkanics

  25. 5 out of 5

    Debby

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lora

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anessa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  30. 4 out of 5

    joan Wilks

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