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Alabama Getaway: The Political Imaginary and the Heart of Dixie (Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South) Hardcover – March 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


<p>A compelling view of Alabama&rsquo;s challenges, and possibly a blueprint for meeting them. Informed readers of politics and Southern culture will be engrossed, and some likely infuriated.</p> (ForeWord Reviews)

<p>American studies at its best, a penetrating reflection on why this former seat of the Confederacy exists in the national imaginary as both a political, economic, and cultural backwater and a site where the Goliath of Jim Crow was slain by humble descendants of slaves. <i>Alabama Getaway</i> is a rich and surprising journey to which you&rsquo;ll want to return.</p> (Robin D. G. Kelley author of <i>Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original</i>)

<p>Along with masterworks such as 1934&rsquo;s <i>Stars Fell on Alabama</i>, this book stands in the first rank of indispensable books about the &lsquo;strange country&rsquo; that calls itself the Heart of Dixie. No student of Alabamiana can afford to be without <i>Alabama Getaway</i>. For close to two centuries now, historians, journalists, novelists, and poets have wrestled with the maddening paradoxes that Tullos confronts with measured authority. . . . He deepens our understanding of Alabama even while convincing us there is little reason for optimism about its governance. Yet he gives due credit for the civil rights gains that represent Alabama&rsquo;s greatest achievement. Bravo! This is a masterful book about a wounded, neurotic, maddening, and&mdash;for those of us born to its soil&mdash;an enduringly lovable place.</p> (Howell Raines)

<p>Residents of any state can ask a variation of the question posed by Tullos: &lsquo;What makes Alabama Alabama?&rsquo; Historians, sociologists, journalists and others grapple with such questions regularly. Rarely, however, has any author tackled the question as effectively as has Tullos . . . Tullos&rsquo; book is so insightful because it transcends the obvious targets. Because Tullos grew up in Alabama, he can empathize even as he criticizes those who believe the state is unfairly maligned.</p> (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

<p><i>Alabama Getaway </i>resists easy categorization. Part Menckenesque journalism, part history, part acerbic social commentary, it veers between the catch phrases of the interdisciplinary seminar and more conventional political analysis. . . . Tullos is at his best when examining the failure of Alabamians&mdash;including Condoleezza Rice&mdash;to deal honestly with their own history.</p> (Clarence L. Mohr <i>Journal of American History)

<p>Borrowing his title from the Grateful Dead, Tullos treads the line between historical narrative and political treatise, offering both an explanation of how the state got into such poor shape and suggestions for how it can improve. His tendency for well-crafted satirical phrases gives this pointed narrative of lost opportunities and missteps a comedic tone as he reminds the reader of how far Alabama has come, yet how far it still has to go. . . .An Important book that contributes to both Alabama&rsquo;s history and the contemporary political debates over its future.</p> (Michael Bowen <i>Alabama Review</i>)

<p>Tullos&rsquo;s greatest contribution to historians is in his theoretical discussion of the political imaginary. His work reiterates the old political lesson that perception is reality and those who dictate perception create that reality.</p> (Dana J. Alsen <i>Southern Historian</i>)

<p>Tullos is a skillful writer, deserving of the best compliments a reader can offer. . . . this is a book that should be read by any Alabamian willing to think beyond &quot;Sez you,&quot; and willing to consider the promise of an Alabama capable of breaking with its past.</p> (Jeff Frederick <i>H-Net Reviews</i>)

About the Author

A native of Alabama, Allen Tullos teaches American studies at Emory University. He is the author of "Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont" and editor of "Long Journey Home: Folklife in the South." Tullos is a cofounder and senior editor of the Internet journal "Southern Spaces" and has worked on numerous documentary films.

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Product Details

  • Series: Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South
  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820330485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820330488
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,455,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Williamson on August 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bona fides first: Though not a native Alabamian, I am a native Southerner who has lived in Mobile for about a decade now. I am ambivalent about my adopted state, which made the title and description of the book look so appealing. However, this is a very tiresome book to read. The author is to be commended for the historical facts and research he uses to buttress his points. Not being a native, I found these illuminating, worthwhile, and consistent with the author's purpose. However, I found the author's over-intellectualized and sneering style to be wearing. He writes with a vitriol reserved for spurned lovers and disenchanted disciples. Furthermore, while examining the historical details with a jaundiced, critical eye, he seems to accept without hesitation many liberal policies about which reasonable people might disagree (and I am hardly a card-carrying Tea Party member) and then condemns Alabama for not implementing these policies on a more consistent basis, if at all. Though I had high hopes for this book, it reads less like a balanced, critical examination of Alabama's history than a vengeful assault wherein facts and opinions are assembled with a predetermined conclusion in mind - ironically, much like an episode of Hannity or Glenn Beck, only with better research.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bama Gal on August 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My friends, you wonder why you should be concerned about the history of Alabama politics. You, sir and madam, are from another great state in the union, one that does not consistently rank in the lowest percentile in education, health, and other markers of social well-being. You wonder what you could possibly learn from this engaging and comprehensive book. Well my friends, I have just three words for you, "debt-ceiling debate." The recent events in the House and Senate could be a page straight out of the annuals of the great state of Alabama. For some of us, those debates were a real "down-home" experience. Intelligence, reason, and collective good are tossed out the window in favor of political posturing, fear mongering, and targeting the lowest common denominator. This terrific, insightful book should be used as a cautionary tale for what can happen when larger than life, but lesser mortals rule for the rest of us.
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By Dr. Wilson Trivino on September 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Growing up in the South in Georgia and living in Alabama ten years during my graduate education in Auburn University, I was intrigue with book Alabama Getaway by Allen Tullos.
Known as the Heart of Dixie, a stage campaign slogan dreamed up by the chamber of commerce in the 1950s, Alabama has a reputation for being a bit backwards. But why?
Tullos examines this question and delves into the past history of racial politics in this state's history. He does chronicle the wide range of bit political players that have laid the groundwork of this state's evolution.
There are a few good anecdotal stories of how one man stabbed another because they argued about a opossum.
This book is a good historical perspective but it looks more at the diagnoses than the cure. Tullos fails to showcase an expected change in the future and makes for a dire state of affairs of this southern state and home to the old confederacy capitol.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the few books that I've ever read and said, "I wish I had written that." Tullos' in-depth research and insightful conclusions about modern Alabama hit the nail on the head, and what's even better is the sharp wit that he sprinkles throughout the text. A couple of times I was immersed in some heavy discussion of socio-political realities and all of a sudden a zinger made me laugh out loud.
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