Hill Folks

A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image

By Brooks Blevins

360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 19 illus., 1 table, 9 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5342-9
    Published: February 2002
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6006-9
    Published: April 2003

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The Ozark region, located in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, has long been the domain of the folklorist and the travel writer--a circumstance that has helped shroud its history in stereotype and misunderstanding. With Hill Folks, Brooks Blevins offers the first in-depth historical treatment of the Arkansas Ozarks. He traces the region's history from the early nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth century and, in the process, examines the creation and perpetuation of conflicting images of the area, mostly by non-Ozarkers.

Covering a wide range of Ozark social life, Blevins examines the development of agriculture, the rise and fall of extractive industries, the settlement of the countryside and the decline of rural communities, in- and out-migration, and the emergence of the tourist industry in the region. His richly textured account demonstrates that the Arkansas Ozark region has never been as monolithic or homogenous as its chroniclers have suggested. From the earliest days of white settlement, Blevins says, distinct subregions within the area have followed their own unique patterns of historical and socioeconomic development. Hill Folks sketches a portrait of a place far more nuanced than the timeless arcadia pictured on travel brochures or the backward and deliberately unprogressive region depicted in stereotype.

About the Author

Brooks Blevins is Endowed Associate Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University.
For more information about Brooks Blevins, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"Well researched and skillfully written, [this] book does an excellent job of presenting historical, geographic, and economic material that focuses on 15 countries of northwestern Arkansas, following changes in how the men and women of this area made a living and interacted with one another in a variety of social settings."--Choice

"At last we have a fascinating and valuable in-depth historical treatment of the Arkansas Ozarks and by an able scholar from the region."--Journal of Appalachian Studies

"Contains a wealth of information about the Ozarks that will be useful to anyone interested in the region and a cautionary tale about the divergence between image and reality."--American Historical Review

"Impressively researched and clearly written. . . . Adds a great deal to our understanding of this understudied region. . . . Scholars and residents of the region owe Blevins a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

"A monumental study. . . . With this book, Ozark history now has a solid foundation."--Journal of American History

"Blevins has provided an important addition to the scholarship in Ozarks social history; folklorists intrigued by relationships between folklore, culture representation, and history will benefit from this valuable study."--Journal of American Folklore