cover of book

The Ozarks: An American Survival of Primitive Society
by Vance Randolph
edited by Robert Cochran
University of Arkansas Press, 2017
eISBN: 978-1-61075-608-2 | Paper: 978-1-68226-026-5
Library of Congress Classification F417.O9R22 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 917.67

Vance Randolph was perfectly constituted for his role as the chronicler of Ozark folkways. As a self-described “hack writer,” he was as much a figure of the margins as his chosen subjects, even as his essentially romantic identification with the region he first visited as the vacationing child of mainstream parents was encouraged by editors and tempered by his scientific training. In The Ozarks, originally published in 1931, we have Randolph’s first book-length portrait of the people he would spend the next half-century studying. The full range of Randolph’s interests—in language, in hunting and fishing, in folksongs and play parties, in moonshining—is on view in this book that made his name; forever after he was “Mr. Ozark,” the region’s preeminent expert who would, in collection after collection, enlarge and deepen his debut effort. With a new introduction by Robert Cochran, The Ozarks is the second entry in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, a reprint series that will make available some of the Depression Era’s Ozarks books. An image shaper in its day, a cultural artifact for decades to come, this wonderful book is as entertaining as ever.

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