In the Arkansas Backwoods: Tales and Sketches

Friedrich Gerstacker, Author University of Missouri Press $0 (253p) ISBN 978-0-8262-0761-6
During a trek through America's frontier (1837-1843), Gerstacker, a German, gathered much of the material that would lift him to the fore as a travel writer and novelist. These 15 Gerstacker tales, collected by Miller, assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas, blend journalism with fiction in convincing portrayals of backwoods life of the period: short courtships, baptism in a creek, fights with lumber pirates called ``rafters,'' and the lot of German emigrants learning to cope in a new land. Most impressive is ``Martin,'' an account of a joke on the village idiot that turns to tragedy. These entertaining stories rise far above the regionalism suggested in the title. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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