Nonfiction

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Entries - Entry Category: Nonfiction - Starting with B

Babbie, Earl Robert

Earl Robert Babbie of Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties) is an acclaimed sociologist best known for his book The Practice of Social Research, which has been reprinted in fifteen editions and is acknowledged to be a standard text in the field of social research. In addition to social research, his other textbooks deal with communications, criminal justice, and social work and, like his social research texts, are reprinted in foreign language editions around the world. He is also known for the Earl Babbie Research Center, which was established in his name at Chapman University in California. In addition, he is recognized for his online project, “Solutions Without Problems,” for which he coined the term “SoluProbs.” Earl Babbie was …

Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle

Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle, published in 1932, is the autobiography of Charles Wayman Hogue (1870–1965), who grew up in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains. Arkansas folklorist Vance Randolph wrote that Back Yonder was, “One of the finest nonfiction books ever written about the Ozark country. Hogue is a native of Van Buren County, Arkansas. He knows the truth about this region, and sets it down without any sentimental twaddle.” Hogue was the father of well-known Arkansas author Charlie May Simon. Her second husband, Howard Simon, illustrated Hogue’s book with exquisite woodcuts. As a young man in his early twenties, Hogue left the Ozarks to attend Little Rock University (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock). It was there that he …

Barker, Catherine Sweazey

Catherine Sweazey Barker was a social worker and author who lived in Batesville (Independence County) in the 1920s and early 1930s. During the height of the Great Depression and shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the New Deal in 1933, Barker took a position as a social services employee with the Batesville office of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) to help impoverished Ozarkers in Independence County and neighboring counties secure government aid and assistance. Drawing on observations from and experiences with rural families during her time as a FERA employee, she wrote a nonfiction book titled Yesterday Today: Life in the Ozarks, which was first published in 1941 and reprinted with a new introduction in 2020. Catherine Sweazey …

Becoming Free Indeed

Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear is a 2023 memoir by Jinger Duggar Vuolo, one of the stars of 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, reality television shows focused upon the daily lives of the Duggar family. She was assisted in writing by Corey Williams. Published by W Publishing Group, an imprint of Christian publishing company Thomas Nelson, the book constituted the first memoir by a Duggar family member following brother Josh Duggar’s arrest on charges of possessing child pornography, but it deals with this scandal only in passing. The book was followed in 2023 by the release of the Amazon Studios documentary series Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets and the publication of Counting …

Blackmon, Douglas A.

Douglas A. Blackmon is an American writer and journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and an American Book Award for Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008). Douglas Blackmon was born in the fall of 1964 in Stuttgart (Arkansas County). The family later moved to Leland, Mississippi, where Blackmon penned his first newspaper story at the age of twelve for the town’s Progress. The family relocated to Monticello (Drew County), where he graduated from high school. He then attended Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County), graduating in 1986. After graduation, Blackmon was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat and managing editor of the Daily Record in …

Boy Erased

Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir Boy Erased recounts his experiences at the Memphis, Tennessee, “ex-gay” therapy program Love in Action, to which his parents sent him in 2004 upon learning that he was gay. A movie adaptation of the book was released in November 2018. Conley, who was born in Memphis and grew up in northern Arkansas—first in Cherokee Village (Sharp and Fulton counties), then in Mountain Home (Baxter County)—is the son of Hershel Conley and Martha Caudill Conley. His father served as a Missionary Baptist pastor in Mountain Home. Conley was a Lyon College freshman when another student outed him as gay. In response, his parents sent him to Love in Action. His memoir is a painful reflection on his …

Boys on the Tracks, The

Mara Leveritt’s 1999 book Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother’s Crusade to Bring Her Son’s Killers to Justice is one of the most important examples of investigative journalism in modern Arkansas history. The book’s subject is one of the state’s most famous unsolved cases. At the heart of the case are events surrounding the deaths of two young men—best friends Larry Kevin Ives and Donald George (Don) Henry, both of Bryant (Saline County)—and the resistance encountered by their grieving parents as they searched for the truth. The book won the prestigious Booker Worthen Literary Prize in 2000. On August 23, 1987, at around 4:00 a.m., the bodies of two young men were spotted by the crew of …

Britt, Terri Utley Amos

Terri Britt, who was Terri Utley at the time, was named Miss Arkansas USA in 1982, going on to win the title of 1982’s Miss USA and compete in the Miss Universe pageant, in which she was a finalist. She remains the only Miss USA to come from Arkansas. When Elizabeth Ward, who was Miss Arkansas, was named Miss America in 1982, it became the first time both Miss America and Miss USA title holders were from the same state in the same year. After a career in the entertainment industry, Britt went on to become a successful motivational speaker and author. Terri Lea Utley was born on November 19, 1961. In her hometown of Cabot (Lonoke County), she was …

Broadside to the Sun

Broadside to the Sun is a 1946 book by Donald W. (Don) West recounting his family’s pursuit of subsistence farming in rural Washington County, Arkansas. West’s work was widely read in the northwestern Arkansas region and has become a valuable source for students of Ozarks farm ways and the impacts of twentieth-century social and economic change on the state. Published in 1946 by W. W. Norton & Company as part of its American Lives series, Broadside to the Sun was the first book published by West, an educator who had worked at the Museum of New Mexico. West’s account was part of a trend of books celebrating rural America and the uniqueness of the Ozarks region and culture. Although clearly …

Brown, Helen Marie Gurley

Helen Gurley Brown was a native Arkansan whose career includes landmark achievements in advertising and publishing. She was considered a spokesperson for the women’s liberation movement and sexual revolution in the mid-twentieth century as author of the bestselling book Sex and the Single Girl (1962) and editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. Helen Marie Gurley was born on February 18, 1922, in Green Forest (Carroll County) to a family of modest means. Her father, Ira Gurley, finished law school in 1923 and was soon elected a state legislator. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) and settled in the Pulaski Heights neighborhood. In 1932, as her father was preparing to run for Arkansas secretary of state, he was killed in an elevator …