You're in the American South now, a proud region with a distinctive history and culture. A place 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. Home of the country blues and country music, bluegrass and Dixieland jazz, gospel music and rock and roll. Where menus offer both down-home biscuits and gravy and uptown shrimp and grits. Where churches preach against "cigarettes, whiskey, and wild, wild women" (all Southern products) and where American football is a religion.
For more than thirty years John Shelton Reed has been “minding” the South—watching over it, providing commentary upon it. He is the author or editor of thirteen books about the South, and despite his disclaimer regarding formal study of Southern history, Reed has read widely and in depth about the South. His primary focus is upon Southerners’ present-day culture and consciousness, but he knows that one must approach the South historically in order to understand the place and its people.