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Books & Authors

Our Ozarks

These non-fiction books aren't random accounts from some far-off place. They investigate our people, our lore, and our history.

A Living History of the Ozarks by Phyllis Rossiter

The Ozarks region, spanning parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, overflows with visible fragments of the past. This is a guide to the region through landmarks and sites which offer clues to its intriguing history. This splendorous land, inspired Rossiter, a native of the Ozarks, to write about the area to help people learn to appreciate its beauty and to recognize our dependence upon nature. 


Ozark Magic and Folklore by Vance Randolph

This basic study by a renowned folklorist includes eye-opening information on yarb doctors, charms, spells, witches, ghosts, weather magic, crops and livestock, courtship and marriage, pregnancy and childbirth, animals and plants, death and burial, household superstitions and much more.

Bittersweet Country edited by Ellen Gray Massey

Bittersweet Country is a record of vanishing Ozark customs and specialties, collected by high school students. The folks interviewed here remember (though rarely prefer) the ways of the past: washing dishes at the well with homemade lye soap, using a mule and double shovel in a potato patch, giving a shivaree to newlyweds and other age-old Ozarks ways. 

Sheriff Takes the Stand by Herman Pierce and Thel Spencer

This book follows an Ozark County lawman on trial and the people in his county.


Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South by Brooks Blevins

In 1929, in a remote county of the Arkansas Ozarks, the gruesome murder of harmonica-playing drifter Connie Franklin and the brutal rape of his teenaged fiancée captured the attention of a nation on the cusp of the Great Depression. National press from coast to coast ran stories of the sensational exploits of night-riding moonshiners, powerful "Barons of the Hills" and a world of feudal oppression in the isolation of the rugged Ozarks. The ensuing arrest of five local men for both crimes and the confusion and superstition surrounding the trial and conviction gave Stone County a dubious and short-lived notoriety. Closely examining how the story and its regional setting were interpreted by the media, Blevins recounts the gripping events of the murder investigation and trial, where a man claiming to be the murder victim--the "Ghost" of the Ozarks--appeared to testify.

The Prince of Point Lookout: Life, Love and Learning at School of the Ozarks by Larry Dablemont

This book was written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the day the author first set foot on the School of the Ozarks campus in 1965, and to honor some of the people who worked and taught there.  


A History of the Ozarks by Brooks Blevins

This is the first volume of a monumental three-part history of the region and its inhabitants. Blevins begins in deep prehistory, charting how these highlands of granite, dolomite and limestone came to exist. From there he turns to the political and economic motivations behind the eagerness of many peoples to possess the Ozarks. Blevins places these early proto-Ozarkers within the context of larger American history, but he also tells the varied and colorful human stories that fill the region's storied past--and contribute to the powerful myths and misunderstandings that even today distort our views of the Ozarks' places and people. 


Haunted Ozarks by Janice Tremeear

The Civil War and the Trail of Tears have marked the Ozarks region, as did the James-Younger Gang and the Baldknobbers. Ghosts linger in resorts and penitentiaries, while UFO's and buried treasure rest in uneasy graves. Those startled by seeing a hellhound run through their backyard, however, might also catch a glimpse of author Tremeear and her team of researchers in hot pursuit of the mysteries of the Ozarks.


Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters from the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima by James Mahaffey

A researcher and nuclear energy advocate describes a number of nuclear mishaps, analyzing what happened and why and explains how each of these accidents have furthered the study of the atom and nuclear energy.






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