The Corner

Re: Elmer Kelton

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Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for your recommendation of The Time it Never Rained.  Based on you previous recommendation of the book in The Corner I ordered a copy.  To say I have enjoyed it is an understatement.  While the book is well written and a pleasure to read  in its own right, much of my pleasure derives from the fact that I recognize in Charlie Flagg many of the attitudes of the family and people I knew in the small rural town of Petal Mississippi from which my family hails.  They were, and still are, fiercely independent and distrustful of intervention, federal or otherwise.

The book reminded me of a story my father told me regarding another cotton farming family that had a run in with FDR’s agricultural regulators.  In their drive to regulate cotton production these bureaucrats told the father of that family that if he did not dig up and destroy a large portion of his cotton crop that he would be arrested and taken to jail.  The old man refused saying “It would be a sin to destroy the product of his and God’s hard work.”  The night before the inspectors returned the farmer’s son drove down from college, fired up the tractor, and destroyed the “offending” portion of the crop to keep his daddy from going to jail.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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