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Minding the South [Paperback]

John Shelton Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 27.31 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 4 2003

 

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.

Why is the South so different from the rest of the country? Rupert Vance, Reed’s predecessor in sociology at Chapel Hill, once observed that the very existence of the South is a triumph of history over geography and economics. The South has resisted being assimilated by the larger United States and has kept a personality that is distinctly its own.
That is why Reed celebrates the South. His essays cover everything from great thinkers about the South—Eugene D. Genovese, C. Vann Woodward, M. E. Bradford—to the uniqueness of a region that was once a hotbed of racism, but has recently attracted hundreds of thousands of blacks transplanted from the North. There are even a few chapters about Southerners who have devoted their talents to different subjects altogether, from politics or soft drinks to rock and roll or the design of silver jewelry. Reed writes with wit and Southern charm, never afraid to speak his mind, even when it comes to taking his beloved South to task. While readers may not share all his opinions, most will agree that John Shelton Reed is one of the best “South watchers” there is.

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Review

“These essays are both timed and timeless. Timed because they are products of a man and his era. They are his thoughts, shaped by what was happening to him when he wrote them. Timeless because they offer a historical perspective on the region and its people. This is a fine book.”

—Harvey H. Jackson, The Journal of Southern History

“Any reader, whether interested in the usual subjects about the South or not, will learn new things about the South from reading Reed’s engaging book.”

—Larry D. Griffin, Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies

"Informatively written . . . Minding the South is a wonderful celebration of the American South and its culture—a regional society which has resisted being assimilated by mainstream United States in order to keep its own distinctive personality. . . . Minding the South is a splendid and enduring tribute to American Southern culture and custom."

Midwest Book Review

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Shelton Reed taught for thirty-one years at the University of North Carolina, where he directed the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and helped to found the university's Center for the Study of the American South. A founding coeditor of the quarterly Southern Cultures, he has received many fellowships and prizes and has been president of the Southern Sociological Society and the Southern Association for Public Opinion Research. He was once a judge at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and in 2001 he was elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Reed has written many books including Minding the South, Kicking Back, My Tears Spoiled My Aim, and Surveying the South (all with University of Missouri Press). He lives and writes in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


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5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid and enduring tribute Nov. 14 2003
Format:Paperback
Informatively written by John Shelton Reed (educator, social scientist, and the author and/or editor of thirteen books about the American South), Minding The South is a wonderful celebration of the American South and its culture -- a regional society which has resisted being assimilated by the mainstream United States in order to keep its own distinctive personality. From the search for objectivity among common pitfalls in remembering Southern history especially before and during the civil war; to profiles of talented Southerners who have devoted themselves to everything from rock and roll to designing silver jewelry, Minding The South is a splendid and enduring tribute to American Southern culture and custom.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
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5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid and enduring tribute Nov. 14 2003
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Informatively written by John Shelton Reed (educator, social scientist, and the author and/or editor of thirteen books about the American South), Minding The South is a wonderful celebration of the American South and its culture -- a regional society which has resisted being assimilated by the mainstream United States in order to keep its own distinctive personality. From the search for objectivity among common pitfalls in remembering Southern history especially before and during the civil war; to profiles of talented Southerners who have devoted themselves to everything from rock and roll to designing silver jewelry, Minding The South is a splendid and enduring tribute to American Southern culture and custom.
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