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The South Hardcover – April 10, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (April 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0025474502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0025474505
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Mason-Dixon line refers not only to a geographic division but also to a "moral, political and economic" culture that Hall and Wood (coauthors of Big Muddy) reexamine in a sweeping tour of the region that is chock-full of anecdote, history and fresh insights. From Virginia to Florida, Oklahoma to Texas, the authors delineate their different ambiences, heroes, villains and common folk. A matriarchal culture and an enduring attachment to the land still characterize most of the region despite all the post-Civil War changes and the differing rates of industrialization. They also argue that a sensuousness and an inclination to myth and fantasy distinguish the South from the North. The authors investigate the influence of the ecology of each state?in their view, for example, Florida is a Mediterranean enclave?on its development and character. Their tours of Jimmy Carter's Plains, Ga., and Bill Clinton's Hope, Ark., are more than a little revealing of the influences on these two leaders, as are their dips into Jefferson's Virginia, Faulkner's Mississippi and the homes of a multitude of other literary and political figures. An intimately perceptive and vividly written portrait of the region.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Hall and Wood, Arkansas coauthors of Big Muddy: Life on the Mississippi Revisited (Dutton, 1992), join up again for a sweeping view of the South, from the Beltway to the bayous, the bluegrass to the wiregrass, the Tidewater to the Piedmont, up the Big Muddy, across the mountains, and deep into the soul of the country. W.J. Cash's classic Mind of the South (1941) charts their intellectual course, but conversation, intuition, anecdote, and observation guide their present-day investigations. Errors in history and exaggerations almost sink their account, as does their habit of loading supposed Southernisms onto the narrative, but the authors find a great truth among the clutter-namely, that there are, and have been, many Souths. And even as the region resists change, it changes, as the public etiquette in race relations attests. This book will grow thick from the many dog-eared pages marking its pithy truths. Hall and Wood fall short of V.S. Naipaul or C. Vann Woodward in essaying the South, but they give a wild and often wise ride through America's most enduring riddle, which, they discover, is as much a state of mind as a place. For all academic and major public libraries.
Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Solo on May 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
B.C. Hall and C.T. Wood's rather simply titled polemic "The South" cleverly disguises itself as a lyrically poetic, leisurely paced, yet unsympathetic instructional survey for the unfamiliar traveler or student of American culture. Unfortunately, the book quickly alienates the reader by taking a hard political stance very early on. The chapters are ordered in regional, non-chronological bits, and by the beginning of the third chapter one begins to get the impression that the authors are going to treat every region with their ideological brush. Part of the author's bias creeps in during their heady praise of W. J. Cash and the use of his thesis as their own conclusion concerning the nature of all Southerners.

While "The South" is entertaining and highly descriptive with many anecdotes that cover both the famous history makers and the not-so-famous, it is continually undermined by its insistence on divisive and blatantly partial diatribes in which the authors generally completely praise or vilify a person or place without any equitable counter-facts. The reader begins to get the impression that Hall and Wood are in love with the land of the South, but intrinsically dislike the people. Indeed, "The South" is chock-full of generalizations and stereotypes, which is ironic, considering that those very "tools" used by the conservative, "Savage Ideal"-oriented denizen described in such detail by the authors are actually reemployed by themselves.

Racial slurs abound; the use of the word "cracker" appears in the double digits during the authors' own narrative -- not as a quote. The narrative even features the use of the f-word in a casual manner, something which, in any format, is not professional.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nosorozec amerykanski on November 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Black Warrior river is called merely the "Warrior" river (p. 176) and the authors seem to think that Birmingham is the capital of Alabama (p. 178). Also, what do the authors mean when they refer to Dr. Kings "crucible marches on Montgomery" (p. 175)?
If the inaccuracies and typos on just these three pages are are any indication of the authors scrupulousness, I would approach the rest of the book with a healthy dose of skepticism.
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By A Customer on August 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Very good book that explores the reality of Southern history. Predictably, those Southerners who have always bought into the myths of the South and actually believe in its veneer of gentility will react as if personally attacked and by reflex will denounce this clear-eyed approach. Not a perfect book - I would take issue with a few of the suppositions myself - but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a sweeping review of all the places in the South, it is fun to read, and it reveals the reality behind all the myths. If you love the South and you can think, then this book contains a vast amount of information that you should add to your knowledge of the South. If you are unable to see past cliches and prefer to accept the myths, then this book will no doubt anger you.
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