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Ozark Magic and Folklore Paperback – June 1, 1964

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Ozark Magic and Folklore + Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales + A Living History of the Ozarks
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486211819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486211817
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Debra Boling on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Wonderful lifetime body of research collected as he lived among the Ozark people. I grew up in Ozark Co. in the 60's-70's and was fortunate to see and hear much of the rich folklore he records. For an outsider (even marrying into an Ozark clan didn't make him a local boy) Randolph obtained a staggering amount of information which is presented in a humerous yet respectful style. When so much of our culture preverted for the neon cash/trash of Branson it's refreshing to read Randolph and remember when stories were told around wood fired stoves and in the summer's evening on front porches. Anyone interested in the real Ozarks should read this...and before you dismiss it all as ignorant fantasy,I can attest that witching water works, and I've touched the otherworldly feather crowns found in death pillows among many other oddities he records.....can't explain it but here it is for what it's worth.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on August 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This work was first published in 1948, ergo, the author was quite close to his subject. The book is very well researched and the author is very careful to mention and note is sources. Having lived in the Ozarks all of my life these stories are quite dear to me. I am quite familiar with all the areas mentioned in the book, and indeed know or knew many of the people mentioned. What the author presents here is quite factual and quite accurate. This work addresses just what the title states "Ozark magic and folklore." Over the past several years some horrible changes have taken place, i.e. Branson, et al. The customs, folkways and beliefs of this wonderful area are just about gone (just about, but still some thankfully linger) and works such as this go far in preserving the memory of a time we probably will not again see. Some of the interesting areas covered are crops and livestock, marrage, weddings, household superstitions, mountain medicine, pregnancy and childbirth, and much, much more. I cannot recommend this one highly enough.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Hendrix on February 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I was younger I collected a great many books on American folklore and superstitions. There are some very large, "standard" collections of American superstitions like "Folklore From Adams County Illinois" by Harry Hyatt -- a gargantuan out-of-print treatise which has a numbered 16,537 beliefs. For example, the book contains 948 beliefs on weather and climate alone, 207 "hair superstitions," and a very extensive collection of 685 witchcraft superstitions at the end of the book.

Then there's the Frank C Brown Collection, in particular I am speaking of "Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from North Carolina" another enormous and heavily annotated, two volume work. This collection has a numbered 8,569 superstitions, but when one counts the variations on each given in the annotations the collection becomes much larger.

I had all of these, and many more centered around various parts of the country.

But the thing about this particular book is that it's written in a more "readable" style. The beliefs are not numbered, instead Vance Randolph tells us a story of the Ozark people as he writes it. This is the type of book you can read straight through or pick up and being reading in mid-chapter, and its guaranteed to be interesting. Yet, like the above-mentioned texts, this book is densely-packed with old beliefs as well.

But what sets this particular book apart for me is that the author knows the area, knows the people and explains their beliefs in a very intimate and interesting way. There's really not going to be another book written like this one again in America.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frank H. Straus on March 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an affectionate and amazingly detailed journalistic look at the folklore of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri during the last generation before television, the 1930s and 40s. The lucky persons who read this book will be amazed at the depths of complexity and sophistication which Vance Randolph's neighbors brought to bear when living their daily lives. Now that the world of folklore-belief is as dead as a doornail (except in bits and pieces, such as Hollywood gossip), we can see how admirable their achievement was. Read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Roit on May 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
My parents still live in the Ozarks, and I recognised some of the things that were common superstitions, phrases, etc.
I found it very entertaining to read, and being born in MO myself, and having lived in some of those areas on and off, made it even more enlightening.
I also noticed tiny hints here and there of the Scottish influence, as that is my ancestry, and something I spend much time studying. Many did settle in the hills around there when they came, preferring that over cities. Makes it even more intriguing, that some bits peek out, mingled and changed with the new culture.
Good stuff!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Osing on May 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have owned this book for several years now and still enjoy thumbing through it. If you buy this book you will not be disappointed. I was amazed to find many of my parent's superstitions right here : like NEVER putting shoes on the table. I could never understand why putting NEW shoes (even if they were still in the box) on the table horrified my parents. Now I know. This book is well-written and delightful as well as informative.
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