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Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession Paperback – July 16, 2013
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“(Thompson) is serious about his argument and has more than enough ammunition.” (New York Times)
“For critics who lament the homogenization of the United States, Thompson offers several memorable scenes with distinct regional flavor. . . . Underneath all the macho bombast, there are some serious ideas at play. In a chapter on the condition of education in the South, Thompson writes passionately and persuasively about the disastrous long-term effects that de facto segregation and systematic underfunding of public schools will have on the US economy.” (Boston Globe)
“[Thompson] is awesomely talented and wickedly funny.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Funny in the mode of P.J. O’Rourke and Joe Queenan.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
“[Thompson’s] solution is a kind of no-fault divorce for nation-states: no hard feelings, just two adults who can’t quite make the relationship work, shaking hands and walking away.” (Oxford American)
“Reading and hearing about the hue and cry from thousands for secession since the election, with Texas leading the pack, I highly recommend the book Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto For Southern Secession by Chuck Thompson. He presents an intriguing and plausible plan, with a touch of humor, that just may be the only way out of the political poison that has spread across this country and endangers the future for all of us. Plus it's a darn good history lesson.” (Boulder Daily Camera)
“As if Kevin Phillips’s American Theocracy were being narrated by Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi . . . Viciously funny and thoroughly tasteless, it’s an easy and cathartic read for anyone fed up with the Confederate influence on the national discourse. But like Taibbi or Bill Maher, Thompson isn’t aiming just to entertain; he wants readers to take his underlying argument seriously.” (Washington Monthly)
“Portland nonfiction author Chuck Thompson’s Better Off Without ’Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession gets the election season’s regional angst off to a tartly observed start.” (Portland Monthly)
“Hilariously over-the-top . . . Thompson's mix of vitriol, bewilderment, humor, and research holds the seemingly disparate elements together and makes for an entertaining, if absurdly hyperbolic, read. . . . Thought-provoking.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Often thoughtful, always irreverent . . . a raucous road trip through the South with a funny, informed, sardonic and opinionated Yankee.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A convincing case that the American South is essentially a separate country that negatively affects the rest of the United States. . . . Everyone jokes about secession, and some politicians—like Texas Gov. Rick Perry—have even threatened it. But what if it actually happened, Mr. Thompson wondered? . . . Better Off Without ‘Em combines scathing humor, caustic opinion, colorful travel writing, jaw-dropping interviews and solid academic research in an entertaining and thought-provoking book that sticks to the ribs like cheese grits and pecan pie.” (Fort Myers Weekly)
“An entertaining and worthwhile read . . . [Thompson] amasses data, and somewhere in between the fire and the brimstone, plans of serious argument are laid down.” (DailyKos.com)
“A fun, engaging read— let’s call it speculative nonfiction—and would make for a fine night of beer-fueled argument.” (Wonkette.com)
“Thank you for the copy of Better Off Without ‘Em, but I'm afraid it's New York and San Francisco that I think should secede.” (P.J. O’Rourke)
“Fry yourself some grits, unfurl that Confederate flag, and read this gem of a book. Chuck Thompson doesn’t have a politically correct bone in his Yankee body. He skewers the South mercilessly, and hilariously. And backs up his barbs with facts. Lots of facts. Better Off Without ‘Em is sure to set hearts racing, on both sides of the Mason Dixon line.” (Eric Weiner New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss)
“A surprisingly worthwhile read . . . A confrontational, extreme—and occasionally convincing—argument for cutting the South loose, peppered with hilarious anecdotes.” (ShelfAwareness.com)
"A fun yet pointed case for splitting the American South away from the rest of the US, offering fiery charges combined iwth meticulously researched detail into a proposition secretly entertained by many. . . . No matter what side of the line you're on, Better Off Without 'Em makes for a thought-provoking, winning analysis." (California Bookwatch)
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Top Customer Reviews
There are a lot of things here that Thompson uses to indict the South that strike me as of the "duh!" category (slavery, Jim-Crow-era-and-beyond systemic racism, backwardness, Larry the Cable Guy)in terms of "reasons to hate the South and wish it gone" (as he advocates quite clearly in his subtitle, "A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession"). But he also uncovers some facts that show pretty clearly that we as a region are indeed dragging down the rest of the country.
Labor unions are unwelcome in the South, which boasts a "pro-business" mindset that would make Charles Dickens weep. Wages and benefits in the South are the lowest in the country, and we've managed to poach Detroit's auto industry because we bend over backwards to accomodate outside businesses (to hell with the workforce as a result). Racism is everywhere, but in the South it's the not-so-subtle motivation behind "Christian academies" and the subtle motivation behind the closing of an historic all-black elementary school in Biloxi because it outperforms white schools. The BCS, which is supposedly how the college football rankings are arrived at "scientifically," seems to favor the SEC at the cost of other conferences (many with better overall records, as Thompson shows).Read more ›
If you believe that humans rode dinosaurs, that the BCS is a fair system, and that education is not something that everyone is entitled to, then this book is not for you.
If you're even debating the purchase, then you may already have a more liberal stance on social issues than is prevalent throughout the south.
Thompson backs up his assertions with references, and although his commentary is laced with his own brand of sarcasm, he makes case after case that the south has not yet decided to join mainstream America.
Fascinating reading, well put together. This would not be something that I would take to the local gun club in SC to read while waiting my turn at the range.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn't even finish reading it. It is indeed a Northern Manifesto of why some effete snobs hate people who are different than them. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Noldor
This is an excellent book for those capable of understanding how one makes points through the use of semi-satire and tough love humor. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Master Hahn
I have already sent a copy to someone else. That's a sure sign of a worthwhile book.Published 2 months ago by Leiker McCoy
Couldn't put it down!! I laughed until I cried. The best thing about this book is, he's right.Published 3 months ago by Nathan
Funny and fact-filled, but drags after a couple of chapters. It's a great tool to discuss modern southern culture, but it just doesn't carry the bookPublished 4 months ago by Grizzled
The author spends a great deal of time bashing Christians as illiterate racists and showing his disdain for anyone that isn't to the left of Harvey Milk. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Guido