You're within the American South now, a proud quarter with a particular heritage and tradition. a spot that echoes with names like Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee, Scarlett O'Hara and Uncle Remus, Martin Luther King and William Faulkner, Billy Graham, Mahalia Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley. domestic of the rustic blues and nation track, bluegrass and Dixieland jazz, gospel song and rock and roll. the place menus provide either down-home biscuits and gravy and uptown shrimp and grits. the place church buildings hold forth opposed to "cigarettes, whiskey, and wild, wild ladies" (all Southern items) and the place American soccer is a religion.
For greater than thirty years John Shelton Reed has been “minding” the South—watching over it, supplying remark upon it. he's the writer or editor of 13 books concerning the South, and regardless of his disclaimer relating to formal learn of Southern historical past, Reed has learn largely and intensive in regards to the South. His basic concentration is upon Southerners’ present-day tradition and awareness, yet he understands that one needs to procedure the South traditionally for you to comprehend where and its people.
Why is the South so assorted from the remainder of the rustic? Rupert Vance, Reed’s predecessor in sociology at Chapel Hill, as soon as saw that the very life of the South is a triumph of heritage over geography and economics. The South has resisted being assimilated by way of the bigger usa and has saved a character that's highly its own.
That is why Reed celebrates the South. His essays conceal every thing from nice thinkers concerning the South—Eugene D. Genovese, C. Vann Woodward, M. E. Bradford—to the distinctiveness of a area that used to be a hotbed of racism, yet has lately attracted thousands of blacks transplanted from the North. There are even a number of chapters approximately Southerners who've dedicated their abilities to diverse topics altogether, from politics or smooth beverages to rock and roll or the layout of silver jewellery. Reed writes with wit and Southern attraction, by no means afraid to talk his brain, even if it involves taking his loved South to activity. whereas readers would possibly not proportion all his critiques, so much will agree that John Shelton Reed is among the top “South watchers” there is.