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The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal: Essays after I'll Take My Stand (The Publications of the Southern Texts Society) Hardcover – June 29, 2001
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About the Author
Emily S. Bingham is an independent scholar living in Louisville, Kentucky. Thomas A. Underwood is the coeditor of Blacks at Harvard: A Documentary History of African-American Experience at Harvard and Radcliffe, and the author of Allen Tate: Orphan of the South.
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In any case, what this means for the book itself is that almost the entire critical apparatus attached to the book -- introduction, notes, bibliography -- is largely dismissive and condescending in both its choice of content and its tone. One would think that the editors would be able to find SOMETHING of value in the essays herein, but any approbation is largely limited to a couple paragraphs at close of the introduction wherein they haltingly and almost apologetically admit that the Agrarians may have been onto something when they were critical of "excessive materialism and rampant individualism." Well, duh. It seems unnecessary to note that it is precisely this element of their thought, and not their out-of-date views on race relations, that continues to attract readers today.
Moving on to the the good news, the book is quite valuable as a collection of essays for anyone who's interested in the Agrarians or Fugitives per se. Since the various pieces range somewhat widely in subject matter some will be of more interest to a given reader than others, but most if not all are at least worth a perusal. The editors do occasionally make valid critical points about certain things, so the reader should not ignore their contributions entirely. He should be aware ahead of time, however, that they themselves have a particular bias, and that this bias manifests itself in a rather dismissive manner, even when the editors' observation happens to be correct.
In summary then, I give the book 1 star for the lack of objectivity of the editors, but 4 for the relative value of the essays.