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Ridin' through Missouri with the tale teller of the late S.E.P. and the late Civil War, in which Mr. Kantor exhibits congenial history, legends and chatter and some up tight biases concerning politics and race relations. Bemused by the parade of tourist nests, the author and his wife discover the cozy and appalling in their travels across the Prove-It state: the ""Place-Mat"" school of history that tells engaging lies under the dinner plate; enterprises like the Mark Twain Gift Shop, the Becky Thatcher Restaurant; and some of the most obliging people around. Kantor recalls stories of Jesse James (he once blew an allowance to see the corpus delicti) and Daniel Boone. He includes a nice 1935 tale about the youthful ghost of Mark Twain. His growls about the recent administrations will be dismissed as merely aging grump by those who disagree and enjoyed by others. However his discourses on race relations (which are expanded upon at length within the context of a grisly lynching account, a tribute to George Washington Carver, and a conversation with a smug Negro Lieutenant Colonel) are unempathetic in an age of black consciousness. . . . Scenic trail with some turns to the far right.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday