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My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South Hardcover – September 15, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 314 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''[Bragg has] a true gift for great storytelling, the kind . . . that makes you think it's just a plain old story, until he gets to the end and you're either weeping or covered with goosebumps.'' --New Orleans Times-Picayune, praise for the author

''Bragg tells about the South with such power and bone-naked love . . . he will make you cry.'' --Atlanta Journal-Constitution, praise for the author --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of All Over but the Shoutin,' Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown. Bragg, who has written for numerous magazines, including Sports Illustrated and Food & Wine, was a newspaper reporter for two decades, covering high school football for the Jacksonville News, and, among other topics, Islamic fundamentalism for The New York Times. He has won more than 50 significant writing awards, in books and journalism, including, twice, the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award. A graduate of Jacksonville State University, Bragg was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Bragg is currently Professor of Writing in the Journalism Department at the University of Alabama, and lives in Tuscaloosa.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxmoor House (September 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848746392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848746391
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Goldengate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had expected a collection of short stories, but these are really brief flashes -- most only a page or two. At first I found this really annoying -- the author would reel me in with a catchy headline and a story and then boom! it was over. Dagnabbit as we used to say in the South, I want to sink my teeth into these vignettes, not have them whiz by only for me to turn the page and start another one. However, once I let that go, I got used to the cadence and the pages flew by as I chuckled and remembered when I used to live in the South.

Bragg is at his best when he's writing about what is clearly one of his favorite topics, southern food. I was reading this on a Southwest airplane eating a teeny tiny bag of honey peanuts while he described his mama making cornbread: "Later my mama would take the cracklin's and mix them in a skillet of cornmeal and then bake it. As the meal cooked, the essence of the cracklin's would melt through the pone of the bread, and when it was done she would cut it into triangles and serve it with pinto beans and stewed squash and slice Spanish onions and pickled pepper so hot it would blind a baby if he rubbed it on his eyes." I sat in my teeney airplane seat and I didn't know what in the heck pone is but I wanted some of that cornbread "right quick." My mouth watered as I ate my darn peanuts and began to plan my next trip home. And that's where Bragg's artistry lies - just a few sentences and you're there. I won't even repeat his description of a place called "Harold's Barbecue" because if I do both you, dear reader, and me are going to have to go eat something and I've got to finish this review. Also, I loved that he mentioned one of my favorite smoked fish shacks in St. Pete Florida... Ted Peter's.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A friend of mine describes Rick Bragg as a ‘national treasure’. Even if that assessment is a tad overstated it can be safely applied to his relationship with the American South. From his touching memoir of his mother, ‘All Over But the Shoutin’’ to his recent biography of Jerry Lee Lewis, his works have beautifully expressed his undying love affair with the land of his birth.

‘My Southern Journey’ continues this love affair with a series of short articles, many reprinted from magazines, that describes, in his unique style, what makes ‘The South’ special. From its food to its music, from the back-country religions to its armadillos, Bragg describes them all and does in that passionately biased way that he has that imbues even the most mundane aspects of life with a quaint charm.

As an unrepentant Yankee, I particularly enjoyed his descriptions of how the English language is spoken in the South differs from the rest of the country. Speaking of Thanksgiving, Bragg said ‘When I mentioned that we were having turkey and dressing at my house, my Yankee friends looked confused. You mean, they asked, the stuff you put on salads? It is a miracle we only fought one war.’

Perhaps my favorite line from the book is when he describes his attitude towards drinking in general and drinking bourbon in particular. ‘I am not a big drinker, but there has always been something comforting about brown liquor. After one, I always felt like I was covered in a warm quilt. The secret, across my life and my ancestor’s lives, was not to drink seven more, turn the drink into a parachute, and jump off something tall.’
Speaking of moderation, I wouldn’t describe the book as ‘sweet’ but after reading it I can almost hear some woman’s voice saying ‘Ain’t that sweet!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rick Bragg in his introduction says that his writing is about his roots, the south, is a 'Sense of Place'. Indeed, indeed, I felt that sense of place in every story. This man knows how to write, and in his sense he brings us all the goodness, the fun, the ridiculous, the taste, the feel and the food of the South.

Do not, whatever you do, read this when you are hungry, planning your next meal, digesting your previous meal, making your food shopping list, or just sitting and reading and minding your own business. The next thing you know you will be up out of your chair, going through the cupboards and the fridge looking for something to tide you over until you can get all the ingredients for that meal that Rick Bragg was just talking about. This is a very dangerous book, and no one who is thinking of or on a diet should read this. In fact, read this on a plane like I did, when the only food available is the blue chips and the attendant looks at you strangely when you ask if there are any more bags. The chapter on Table is all about food. It is my favorite chapter, and I read it twice. He starts with food and drink in New Orleans, snow cones and ends with stories about Grouper sandwiches. The stories in between are much too dangerous to relate at lunchtime. Maybe a big tomato sandwich, tomato fresh from the garden.

Stories of rednecks, big storms, football in Alabama, his mother, his brother and his brother's dog Pretty Girl. All of these stories and more are such a treat. The Southern gentility we have all heard about comes peaking through. The people are fun, wise, rich and poor, but they all have heritage and stories to share. Holiday fruit cakes, 'Have Gun Will Travel' , and the Spirit of the South. It is all here, in these stories. Rick Bragg has had a Southern life and he loves to talk about it.

Recommended. prisrob 08-09-15
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