"Witty and honest . . . a well written, engaging collection of essays that focuses upon the central cultural consensus of the contemporary south." Charles Reagan Wilson, director, Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Co-editor, Encyclopedia of Southern Culture "These essays are gems! When I agree with them, I'm delighted to see my views so well expressed. When I disagree (not often), they make me think hard about why. . . . I'm glad to have spent some time [with Phil Martin]." John Shelton Reed, University of North Carolina author of 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South
From the Inside Flap
The Artificial Southerner tracks the manifestations and ramifications of "Southern identity"the relationship among a self-conscious, invented regionalism, the real distinctiveness of Southern culture, and the influence of the South in America. In these essays columnist Philip Martin explores the region and those who have both fled and embraced it. He offers lyric portraits of Southerners real, imagined, and absentee: musicians (James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash), writers (Richard Ford, Eudora Welty), politicians (Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter). He also considers such topics as the architecture of E. Fay Jones, the biracial nature of country music, and the idea of "white trash." "Every American has a South within," he says, "a conquered territory, an old wound . . . a scar." His work meditates on the rock and roll, the literature, the life, and the love which proceed from that inner, self-created South.