Books: Troubles in the Delta

THE CROOKED WAY (247 pp.)—Elizabeth Spencer—Dodd, Mead ($3).

Amos Dudley grew up in the Mississippi hill country with two preoccupations, money and righteousness. He fooled himself into believing they were pretty much the same thing. Amos grabbed a slice of Delta wilderness, and, by relentlessly sweating his Negroes and himself, cleared the land, planted cotton and grew rich.

In his early years, Amos lived with a lusty, knockabout woman, but once he established his plantation he threw her over and married Ary Morgan, daughter of the local aristocracy. They built a house, had children—what else could Amos want? But it was almost as...

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