Books: Blackgum Against Thunder

ALL THE KINGDOMS OF EARTH (249 pp.)—Hoke Norrls—Simon & Schuster ($3.50).

Down in the harsh bottom land of Crooked Creek, N.C., the sharecropping Negroes grub and grovel in feudal hardship, sustained only by a Bible-quoting parson and their own passive resistance to death, famine and flood — the blind resilience peculiar to those with no hope to abandon except that of heaven. To borrow one of their own sayings, they are "blackgum against thunder," and that is something when a man knows that the blackgum tree is "so hard, when lightnin hit it,...

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