Learning about the Ozarks
For those living outside of the region, books and movies are a great way to learn more about the Ozarks' environment and culture.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 19:30
OZARK REGION: Books and films are an excellent resource to learn more about the Ozark region and its unique characteristics. (Photo: OakleyOriginals/Flickr)
The Ozarks is a region located in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas of distinct physical, natural and cultural characteristics. I grew up in north central Arkansas and can vouch for the quality of the area's landscape, wildlife and tradition. I've listed two books and a film that detail the Ozarks' natural environment, the role of traditional culture, and the role the environment plays within this culture.
"Hill Folks: A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image" by Brooks Blevins
Blevins describes the culture of the region as well as significant historical events that have greatly impacted the Ozark economy and way of life. He discusses the region's agriculture, the coming and going of exploitive industries, like the timber industry, and the recent advent of profitable tourism. Blevins also addresses the stereotype of an Ozarker.
"Life in the Leatherwoods" by John Quincy Wolf
A memoir of growing up and living in the Arkansas Ozarks, "Life in the Leatherwoods" gives insight into Ozark life. John Quincy Wolf writes about his life with a great deal of humor but also addresses serious issues.
"Winter's Bone" starring Jennifer Lawrence
Based on Daniel Woodrell's novel, "Winter's Bone" has only gained further critical acclaim since receiving the Best Picture award at the Sundance Film Festival this past summer. The novel and film focuses on Ree, a teenage girl who cares for her mother and two younger siblings. Living in extreme southern Missouri, the family experiences the stresses of poverty and drug use and is faced with losing their home and acres of land. While not greatly emphasized, the family's struggle to keep their property describes the role of land in the more traditional Ozark lifestyle.