Books: Charms in the Hills

OZARK SUPERSTITION (367 pp.)—Vance Randolph-Columbia University ($3.75).

Only a sympathetic and delicate work of fiction could do complete justice to the quirky beliefs of backwoods Americans in western Missouri and Arkansas. In this book, the quirks are set down as fact, exhaustively and entertainingly, by an Ozark scholar who has lived in the mountains for 30 years and kept a card file that eventually filled a trunk. He writes without condescension and also without the solemn intensity of the sociologist. Some of the Ozark signs and sayings he found:

Weather. When horses' tails are large, when horses scratch themselves against trees or fences,...

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