Arkansas/Arkansaw : How Bear Hunters, Hillbillies, and Good Ol' Boys Defined a State

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 9/1/2009
  • Publisher: Univ of Arkansas Pr

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What do Scott Joplin, John Grisham, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Maya Angelou, Brooks Robinson, Helen Gurley Brown, Johnny Cash, Alan Ladd, and Sonny Boy Williamson have in common? They're all Arkansans. What do hillbillies, rednecks, slow trains, bare feet, moonshine, and double-wides have in common? For many in America these represent Arkansas more than any Arkansas success stories do. In 1931 H. L. Mencken described AR (not AK, folks) as the "apex of moronia." While, in 1942 a Time magazine article said Arkansas had "developed a mass inferiority complex unique in American history." Arkansas/Arkansaw is the first book to explain how Arkansas's image began and how the popular culture stereotypes have been perpetuated and altered through succeeding generations. Brooks Blevins argues that the image has not always been a bad one. He discusses travel accounts, literature, radio programs, movies, and television shows that give a very positive image of the Natural State. From territorial accounts of the Creole inhabitants of the Mississippi River Valley to national derision of the state's triple-wide governor's mansion to Li'l Abner, the Beverly Hillbillies, and Slingblade, Blevins leads readers on an entertaining and insightful tour through more than two centuries of the idea of Arkansas. One discovers along the way how one state becomes simultaneously a punch line and a source of admiration for progressives and social critics alike.

Author Biography

Brooks Blevins is the Noel Boyd Associate Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University. He is the author of Cattle in the Cotton Fields, Hill Folks, and Lyon College, 1872-2002, and editor of Life in the Leatherwoods. His last two books were published by the University of Arkansas Press.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
Creating the Bear Statep. 11
Why Arkansas?p. 37
Aboard the Arkansaw Trainp. 43
This Hillbilly State of Minep. 65
Heyday of the Hillbillyp. 71
Getting Defensivep. 119
All Roads Lead to Bubbap. 137
Conclusionp. 185
Notesp. 197
Bibliographyp. 221
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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