Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail
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Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In the tradition of A Civil Ac tion—the true story of a North Carolina outdoorsman who teams up with his Appalachian “mountain people” neighbors to save treasured land from being destroyed

Living alone in his wooded mountain retreat, Jay Leutze gets a call from a whip-smart fourteen-year-old, Ashley Cook, and her aunt, Ollie Cox, who say a min...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Scribner
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I flat loved this book. Sure, I wish there had been pictures and even a roster of characters (so many nicknames!), but those are quibbles in the face of Leutze’s enthusiasm for protecting the Appalachian Trail viewshed and his love of the mountains and people of western North Carolina. He connects to his neighbors in fundamental ways and connects the readers with them too. I rooted for Ollie (oh, she of homespun wisdoms) and her brilliant teenaged niece, Ashley. And pulled just as hard against D...more
Here are some of the Kindle notes that accompanied the reading of this book:

Aw hail no.
Shame on you, US Forest Service.
Oh, Jesus. (Wrote this several times.)
I hate capitalism sometimes.
Good grief. (Wrote that one a lot, actually.)
Pretty stupid. In what other job can you not just fix your mistakes? (I'm looking at you, Charles.)
Infuriatingly stupid.
Then what's the f'ing point of the mining commission?
Uuugh, lobbyists.

Basically! This book is about a gravel company ruining the views at a...more
David V.
Received as an ARC from the publisher. To be released in June.

Wowee!!!!! What a book! The true story of a small group of people in the mountains of North Carolina fighting a wealthy quarry owner from opening a stone grinding operation within sight of the Appalachian Trail. First, it's a wonderful travel guide for that part of NC. Secondly it reads like a mystery story. I was reading faster toward the end because I wanted to know the result of all the hearings. With the emotional highs and lows,...more
I loved this book on several levels. The true storyline is gripping, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The author totally captures the uniqueness of the people and landscape of the Southern Appalachians. Leutze's writing style draws you into this world, making it accessible through the cadence of the local mountain dialect, vivid descriptions of the Roan highlands, and finding humor in the most dire of situations. This is a book I would love to hear recorded!
Doug Chaffin
Wow, what an incredible story. Jay put his whole heart into this project. It was also incredible that so many others had the heart and courage to stand up to those seeking to destroy the natural beauty and marvelous views presented by the wonderful NC mountains.
My favorite part of the book was the moment when Eastman Hiking Club was mentioned as a great supporter and caretaker of the Appalachian Trail and even more that a long-time member, Steve Perri was willing to make multiple trips during ju...more
Maggie Silton
Stand Up That Mountain is an inspiring true story that reads like a novel you can't put down.
I started reading this ‘tree-hugger’ book, for free, in a library to make sure the story wasn’t too filled with environmental protectionist generalities or dogma before I purchased it because I wanted to read an interesting story plus learn something from another perspective perhaps. Having developed land and participated in updates of regulation, I have seen abuses, by incompetence, laissez-faire doctrine, and good ol’ boy networks at work.

The book tells a real story from a small world and is...more
Dan Gobble
Thanks Jay for a passionate account of the gut-wrenching process of fighting uphill battles for echo-sphere concerns. I met Jay at the Literary Bookpost in Salisbury, NC. He shared a few more stories and details not in the book. Jay came across as a humble, yet fierce advocate for the natural world as well as his neighbors. Jay's vision for wild places doesn't seem to be one in which humans are not present, but one in which humans are there as students to learn and participants to enjoy (without...more
Rebecca Tolley-Stokes
Fantastic!! One of the best books I've read all year. Leutze tells his story of becoming involved in a fight to save his community & neighbors, as well as the Appalachian Trail and it's lovers/advocates/hikers, from a gravel mining operation that circumvented the permit process, thus becoming an eyesore, a air/noise/water polluter, and unwanted entity in the community. While it's mostly focused on activism, press releases, hearings, appeals, etc. it is not dry writing or reading at all. Exce...more
Leutze's subject matter is far more interesting than his book. While I didn't expect him to write as if creating a screenplay for the next version of Erin Brockovich, Stand Up That Mountain could use a little dose of melodrama. His story is all too real, and when he's writing about Ollie Ve, her family, and the folks affected by Paul Brown's attempt to build a rock crusher practically in their yard, it's gripping. As it is when he writes about his immersion into the truth of the matter and his r...more
Kae Roberts
Way to close to home as I know the roads around that area. The insight into the laws that few of us are aware of is wonderful. Leutze's first novel is spellbinding especially because it is true.
Jun 20, 2012 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Warren Savage and Dee Robinson
Beautifully written true story of a fight to save a mountain in a remot part of Appalachian mountains in North Carolina from being destroyed. The characters in this novel are real people and by the end of this book I could not put down I found myself feeling as though I knew them myself. Jay has created a beautiful book that provides an education on just what it takes for grass roots efforts to succeed amongst a system of rulings, agencies, egos, personalities, competing passions for rights to e...more
Huge eye-opener about surface mining in the mountains of North Carolina. Mixed in with the story of Jay Leutze's grass-roots efforts to prevent a mine from destroying the area around his mountain home and views from the Appalachian Trail are incredible descriptions of the amazing flora and fauna of this area including the Carolina Flying Squirrel, the endangered long-eared bat, and several species of plants left over from the last ice age. Our book club was thrilled to have Jay talk to us, read...more
Jamison Doran

Absolutely fantastic and without a doubt one of the best books of 2010. Leutze gives us a terrifying true story of a small town, not far from where I grew up and went to school that is embattled as it fights for the removal of a mine.

The people are magnificent and Leutze's writing style is so engaging you'll find yourself not wanting to put the book down. Even if you aren't from small town North Carolina and aren't familiar with the beautiful places he talks about in great detail you will thoro...more
Scott Bodien
enjoyed the tenacity (and often long periods of waiting, waiting, waiting) of the author, and the story is one of persistence. Very informative
Inspiring story of perseverence as a community works to prevent the construction of a rock grinding mill within sight of a stretch of the Appalachian Trail (the real one). Not really evil, the other side of this fight, just clueless and careless. Or maybe in this day and age those characteristics are potentially evil, given possible consequences of (environmental) cluelessness and carelessness?
Stand Up That Mountain was an excellent retelling of an important time in conservationist and western NC history. Being from the County, I'll reserve judgment on portrayal of accents and attitudes (however accurate they may be), but overall, a great story. Leutze makes good use of personal, legal, historical, and local contributions, and provides a thought-provoking and inspiring story.
A great story of David vs. Goliath, a small mountain community banding together to save their mountain. Although not surprising, it was a bit eye-opening to see such government disregard for a. The environment and b. the citizens the government is supposed to represent. But once again, money talks. A good, inspiring read, but the author could have told the story in about half the time.
Tom Buske
This was an interesting account of the opening and subsequent closing of the Putnam Mine in Avery County, NC within close proximity to the Appalachian Trail. The prose is a paean both to the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the basic, yet warm-hearted and determined people who live there. The book would have benefited from the inclusion of pictures to augment the prose.
Well written and moving. I cried reading some passages. Some (not all) court sequences are a little dry, but the editing is tight, so those scenes are not drawn out. I'm an impatient page skipper, but there was little reason to do that in this book. A recommended read for anyone, but especially those who have invested any time visiting and exploring Appalachia.
Glad to have read this book! Its the story of one mans intensive battle to save a NC mountain from being ravaged by a gravel mining operation. The mining operation would have been seen from a particularly beautiful spot on the Appalachian Trail. It also highlighted the mining and political interests in North Carolina which turn out to be massive.
Pat Mckee
Author and former attorney Jay Leutze tells the story of how a small mountain community joins forces to stop the destruction of a mountain in Avery County NC by a gravel pit mine operation. He does a nice job of bringing the mountain folk to life for the reader, as well as telling a happy-ending story of "man vs corporation."
Quinn Whitaker
This book is great on so many levels. I have known the author since college and heard bits and pieces of the story along the way. I know the ending, yet is still can't put the book down. There are so many twists and turns. Jay is great, story teller. He can make a simple trip turn into an epic tale. I can't wait for his next book.
Dean Brodhag
I heard the author speak at a Sierra Club meeting. Being about western North Carolina, the Appalachian Trail and local folks fighting for environmental issues it got my attention. A good mix of local flavor and legal maneuvering that is not overwhelming. I want to hike the section from Hump Mountain to Roan Mountain.
Naomi Lambert
I loved this book. Jay Leutze keeps the story moving along with a strong cast of characters and plot twists. It helps that the action happens in familiar and beloved places. The insights into government decision making and the judicial process aren't always very positive but in the end, the power of a determined few is clear.

I enjoyed reading about the fight to prevent a gravel business from taking down a mountain within view of the Appalachian Trail near Roan Mountain. I learned a lot of interesting facts about the area, it's history and area politics. I got a little tired of the drawn out details of the fight.
This book is amazing. The story of small town vs. big money, political greed and their fight to save their mountain and homes.
I am proud of this community that fought to save a part of the Appalachian Trail and all the beautiful, rare gems that live and survive on top of that mountain.
A real-life story of a group of landowners fighting to keep their mountain homes free from the effects of a rock quarry nearby. The story is well-told including some colorful characters. Learned more about the Appalachian Trail and the terrain in North Carolina than I knew before.
Betsy Bodien
enjoyed the tenacity (and often long periods of waiting, waiting, waiting) of the author, and the story is one of persistence. Very informative
As always, I really enjoy reading books that take place in my neck of the woods. And this one is a real story! And about an issue I care about -- mountain top removal (although this one was for granite gravel, not coal).
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