Wayman Hogue’s stories of growing up in the Ozarks, according to a 1932 review in the New York Times, “brilliantly illuminate mountain life to its very heart and in its most profound aspects.” A standout among the Ozarks literature that was popular during the Great Depression, this memoir of life in rural Arkansas in the decades following the Civil War has since been forgotten by all but a few students of Arkansas history and folklore.
Back Yonder is a special book. Hogue, like his contemporary Laura Ingalls Wilder, weaves a narrative of a family making its way in rugged, impoverished, and sometimes violent places. From one-room schoolhouses to moonshiners, the details in this story capture the essence of a particular time and place, even as the characters reflect a universal quality that will endear them to modern readers.
Historian Brooks Blevins’s new introduction explores the life of Charles Wayman Hogue, analyzes the people and events that inspired the book, and places the volume in the context of America’s discovery of the Ozarks in the years between the World Wars. The University of Arkansas Press is proud to reissue Back Yonder as the first book in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, making this Arkansas classic available again, ready to be discovered and rediscovered by readers sure to find the book as interesting and entertaining as ever.