Books: Worlds of Childhood

A LONG Row TO HOE, by Billy C. Clark (233 pp.; Crowell; $4.50), at first seems to tug too unashamedly at the reader's sympathies. In fact, this autobiographical sketch of a Kentucky boyhood is flecked by neither self-pity nor stuffiness, and its markings of American life are so authentic that a latter-day Mark Twain could reshape it without much trouble into a new Huckleberry Finn.

Billy Clark was born in 1928 near Catlettsburg, where the Big Sandy empties into the bigger Ohio. Father was a shoemaker and occasional fiddler, a fine man and poor...

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