Ghost of the Ozarks

Ghost of the Ozarks : Murder and Memory in the Upland South

3.22 (31 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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 fiance 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, Brooks 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. Local conditions in Stone County, which had no electricity and only one long-distance telephone line, frustrated the dozen or more reporters who found their way to the rural Ozarks, and the developments following the arrests often prompted reporters' caricatures of the region: accusations of imposture and insanity, revelations of hidden pasts and assumed names, and threats of widespread violence. Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South entertains readers with a dramatic tale of true crime as well as a skilled interpretation of the region. Throughout this narrative, Blevins weaves a sophisticated social history of the Ozarks in the early twentieth century, critically analyzing the stereotypes and imagery inherent in local folklore and embedded in media coverage of the murder and trial. Locating the past of the Upland South squarely within the major currents of American history, Blevins paints a convincing backdrop to a story that, more than 80 years later, remains riddled with mystery and a source of bitter division in the community where some believe Connie Franklin met his end.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 25.4mm | 458.13g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252082575
  • 9780252082573

Review quote

"Brooks Blevins is an expert on Ozarks matters--the history, the land, the people--and in Ghost of the Ozarks he proves it again. Blevins provides a spellbinding account of a notorious and brutal crime involving murder, rape, and the resurrection of a corpse, with a bounty of mysterious elements and a haunting resolution."--Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone "One of the most interesting books I have read in years--I started the first few pages and just couldn't quit. This thorough and sophisticated discussion will appeal to readers interested in the history of violence, cultural stereotypes, modernization, the Ozarks, legal history, and journalism." --Bruce E. Baker, author of This Mob Will Surely Take My Life: Lynchings in the Carolinas, 1871-1947 "This is local history at its best--the description and analysis of a single localized event that sheds light on the larger place and time. Blevins writes with a knowledge based on exhaustive scholarly research and the understanding of one who was born and raised in the region. Serious scholars and casual readers alike will find Ghost of the Ozarks hard to put down."--The Journal of Southern History "This book is about far more than a trial. It is a deep and penetrating look at an isolated and poor mountain redoubt along Cajun Creek on the eastern edge of Stone County."--Arkansas Democrat-Gazette "Brooks Blevins does an outstanding job of retelling the ins and outs of this fantastic and entertaining story--the sensationalism of the press, the charges of rape, peonage, and privilege, the dramatic trial, and even the reappearance of the murder victim."--Michael Pierce, associate editor, Arkansas Historical Quarterly "Brooks Blevins does an outstanding job of retelling the ins and outs of this fantastic and entertaining story--the sensationalism of the press, the charges of rape, peonage, and privilege, the dramatic trial, and even the reappearance of the murder victim."--Michael Pierce, associate editor, Arkansas Historical Quarterly "One of the most interesting books I have read in years--I started the first few pages and just couldn't quit. This thorough and sophisticated discussion will appeal to readers interested in the history of violence, cultural stereotypes, modernization, the Ozarks, legal history, and journalism."--Bruce E. Baker, author of This Mob Will Surely Take My Life: Lynchings in the Carolinas, 1871-1947 "Brooks Blevins is an expert on Ozarks matters--the history, the land, the people--and in Ghost of the Ozarks he proves it again. Blevins provides a spellbinding account of a notorious and brutal crime involving murder, rape, and the resurrection of a corpse, with a bounty of mysterious elements and a haunting resolution."--Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Boneshow more

About Brooks Blevins

A native of the Arkansas Ozarks, Brooks Blevins is the Noel Boyd Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University. His other books include Arkansas/Arkansaw: How Bear Hunters, Hillbillies, and Good Ol' Boys Defined a State and Hill Folks: A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image.show more

Rating details

31 ratings
3.22 out of 5 stars
5 6% (2)
4 45% (14)
3 23% (7)
2 16% (5)
1 10% (3)
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