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Book Review: "Mildred, Quit Hollering!"


Nearly a century ago, Vance Randolph began wandering the hills and hollers of the Ozarks visiting rich and poor alike, on shady porches, and beside the welcoming fire of foxhunters. Truly a man of the people, he listened to bankers, ferrymen, hunters, doctors and itinerant berry pickers, recording what he heard, saving large swaths of Ozark country’s culture in story and song. He made every attempt to meet and try to understand the people he was recording, by “immersing himself in village life, contributing items for the paper, dabbling in local politics” and in some cases living with his informants for several months. This culminated in classics such as Ozark Magic and Folklore, Who Blew up the Churchouse?, and finally the bawdy collection, Pissing in the Snow. His newest work, Mildred Quit Hollering! holds true to all previous volumes, and provides fresh commentary on the subject matter. Published forty-three years after his death, this volume became a labor of love for Curtis Copeland, who was given the unfinished collection by Dr. Gordon McCann who in turn, had received it from Randolph himself.

True to Randolph’s form, Mildred, is a fast moving, fun read that reintroduces the rustic characters and humorous tales that he became known for. Laced generously with comedy and innuendo, it is not only a pleasure to read, but one you will pick up off the shelf again and again. Copeland, not only meticulously resurrects these yarns, but takes the additional step of researching and writing biographical sketches on the informants. This additional insight spans the entirety of Randolph’s works, giving the reader greater context of time and place. Accompanied by modern Ozark tales and perspective, from co-author Augustus Finch, they weave together a fitting bookend to the entire Randolph collection.

Learn more about Vance Randolph and meet the author! Curtis Copeland will be appearing at the Webster County Historical Society on April 23rd at 6 pm. The evening will prove both informative and entertaining.


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