Worrying the Southern Bone

Longtime readers of Chronicles are familiar with John Shelton Reed, who used to write a column for this magazine.  Those less familiar may recall the occasional news story based on the latest intelligence-gathering done by the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, which Professor Reed founded.  Well-known among his fellow Southern sociologists, he has had several brushes with wider fame as the man behind the concept of Death cigarettes (which either were, or nearly were, nationally marketed) and the author of the keynote essay for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics’ official program, explaining the South to foreigners.  Over the course of a full career, most of it spent at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, John Shelton Reed has published widely—from monographs to collections of his Chronicles column.  This book apparently collects everything else—book reviews, essays, addresses, the odd interview and movie review—and fans of Professor Reed will enjoy it very much.

As it is heavy on book reviews, this collection may be regarded as an interestingly eclectic, heavily annotated, and necessarily brief booklist of three decades’ worth of Southern reading, ranging from Norman Yetman’s Life Under the “Peculiar Institution”: Selections from the Slave Narrative Collection (which Reed reviewed in 1973) to...

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