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 interestsin language, in hunting and fishing, in folksongs and play parties, in moonshiningis 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.
About the Author
Vance Randolph was the author of many books on Ozark culture, including, in addition to The Ozarks, the bestselling Pissing in the Snow.
Robert Cochran is professor of literature at the University of Arkansas and the author of several books, including Vance Randolph: An Ozark Life.