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Born in the Delta: Reflections on the Making of a Southern White Sensibility Paperback – July 1, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a beautifully crafted portrait of unique aspects of the Southern culture that still persists in the Mississippi Delta region. Each chapter tells a readable, retell-able story about everyday topics that range from the manners we taught our children, to Southern cooking at home. From the meaningfulness to children of a lively backyard pond, to the way proud Southern families artfully coped with the financial stresses of a volatile agricultural economy. And each chapter is more colorful, more rich with imagery, more authentic than the one before.
Berstoli's book is also informed by her deep knowledge of language and sociology. Her years in the University of Arkansas' English department provided a platform for continued research into Southern communication styles and social conventions. She has localized this book to a very small sub-region (focused in and around Desha County in Southeast Arkansas), which allows for observations that are much more precise than the popular, overgeneralized Southern stereotypes.
If I taught a class in American History, I would certainly include BORN IN THE DELTA as a text.
The carefree childhood days of Bolsterli's (and my own) South are gone now, having long been replaced by asphalt, industry, and the complexities that seem to be a necessary part of modernization. Bolsterli tells of daring feats with neighbor children, of playing without the constant adult supervision that is a must for today's child. I well remember long afternoons spent in our neighborhood, without anyone worried about my whereabouts, let alone my safety. Then there is the dark time, a murder in the family, with the polite perceptions and differing accounts - it's all there and Bolsterli tells it so well.
A good book to read at least once more.