One of the most acclaimed travel writers of our time turns his unflinching eye on an American South too often overlooked Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America -- the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation's worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates. It's these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux's keen traveler's eye. On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road "the plantation." He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families -- the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without. From the writer whose "great mission has always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself -- and thus, to challenge us" (Boston Globe), Deep South is an ode to a region, vivid and haunting, full of life and loss alike.
“Theroux’s eye for landscape remains as sharp as ever . . . It’s Theroux’s remarkable gift for getting strangers to reveal themselves that makes going along for this ride worthwhile.” — New York Times Book Review Paul Theroux has spent the past fifty years roaming the globe, describing his encounters with remote people and far-flung places in ten best-selling travel books. Now, for the first time, he explores a part of America—the Deep South. Setting out on a winding road trip, Theroux discovers a region of architectural and artistic wonders, incomparable music, mouth-watering cuisine—and also some of the worst schools, medical care, housing, and unemployment rates in the nation. Yet, no matter where he goes, Theroux meets the unsung heroes of the South, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who found their way home and devoted their lives to rebuilding a place they could never live without. “Paul Theroux’s latest travel memoir had me at hello . . . Theroux pulls no punches in his quest to understand this overlooked margin of American life.” — Boston Globe “A vivid contemporary portrait of rural life . . . a deeply affecting personal account.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Idealizing the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, Ellis Hock is abruptly divorced by his wife and decides to return to Africa only to find the region devastatingly transformed by poverty and apathy. 35,000 first printing.
Author: Allison Davis
Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Press
Release Date: 2009
First published in 1941, Deep South is the cooperative effort of a team of social anthropologists to document the economic, racial, and cultural character of the Jim Crow South through a study of a representative rural Mississippi community. Researchers Allison Davis, Burleigh B. Gardner, and Mary R. Gardner lived among the people of Natchez, Mississippi, as they investigated how class and caste informed daily life in a typical southern community. This Southern Classics edition of their study offers contemporary students of history a provocative collection of primary material gathered by conscientious and well-trained participant-observers, who found thenas nowintertwined social and economic inequalities at the root of racial tensions. Expanding on earlier studies of community stratification by social class, researchers in the Deep South Project introduced the additional concept of caste, which parsed a community through rigid social ranks assigned at birth and unalterable through lifea concept readily identifiable in the racial divisions of the Jim Crow South. As African American researchers, Davis and his wife, Elizabeth, along with his assistant St. Clair Drake, were able to gain unrivaled access to the black community in rural Mississippi, unavailable to their white counterparts. Through their interviews and experiences, the authors vividly capture the nuances in caste-enforcing systems of tenant-landlord relations, local government, and law enforcement. But the chief achievement of Deep South is its rich analysis of how the southern economic system, and sharecropping in particular, functioned to maintain rigid caste divisions along racial lines. In the new introduction tothis edition, Jennifer Jensen Walla
Author: Mary Ward Brown
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Release Date: 1993-08-30
These beautifully crafted stories depict the changing relationships between black and white southerners, the impact of the civil rights movement, and the emergence of the New South. Mary Ward Brown is a storyteller in the tradition of such powerful 20th-century writers as William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Flannery O'Connor, and Eudora Welty-writers who have explored and dramatized the tension between the inherited social structure of the South and its contemporary dissolution. With Tongues of Flame, her first collection of short stories, Brown bares the awkward, sometimes hopeful, and often tragic suffering of people caught in changing times within a timeless setting. Here we meet such memorable characters as a dying black woman who seeks the advice of a now-alcoholic white doctor whom she knew in better years; a young woman, jilted at the altar, driven crazy by an illuminated cross erected by the church opposite her house; and a 95-year-old woman buying a tombstone for her long-deceased husband only to discover that he had been adulterous throughout their marriage. Brown constructs her characters in a disarmingly plain style while breathing life into them with compassion and honesty as they confront the large moments of their lives. First published by E. P. Dutton in 1986 to immediate critical acclaim, Tongues of Flame won the 1987 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award. The judges commended Brown for "seeing life whole, without prejudice, without sentimentality, without histrionics. Her voice may be quiet-sometimes she speaks in a whisper-but her words are, nevertheless, always forceful, clear, and ultimately lasting." With this new publication of Tongues of Flame and its inclusion in the University of Alabama Press's Deep South Books series, a whole new generation of readers may once more discover Mary Ward Brown's profound stories of pain, loss, and hope.
First published more than thirty years ago, Paul Theroux's strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here Theroux recounts his early adventures on an unusual grand continental tour. Asia's fabled trains -- the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express -- are the stars of a journey that takes him on a loop eastbound from London's Victoria Station to Tokyo Central, then back from Japan on the Trans-Siberian. Brimming with Theroux's signature humor and wry observations, this engrossing chronicle is essential reading for both the ardent adventurer and the armchair traveler.
A Book Sense Notable book, High Cotton tells of a year in the life of a modern-day cotton farmer, with all its humidity, heartache - and in 2005, Hurricane Katrina. Combining an engaging narrative and a strong sense of time and place, this is a story with deep roots. ''Helferich provides valuable insights into the historical and cultural significance of cotton in the United States.''
Author: Mary Ward Brown
Release Date: 2002
"All but one of the stories are set in Alabama. They deal with dramatic turning points in the lives of people who happen to be southerners, many juxtaposed between Old South sensibility and manners and New South modernity and expectations. Among these characters is a new widow uncomforted by well-meaning, proselytizing Christians; a middle-aged waitress in love with the town "catch"; a bedridden belle dependent upon her black nurse; a "special" young man in a newspaper shop; a young faculty wife who attempts generosity with a lower-class neighbor; and a lawyer caught in the dilemma of race issues."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
"Theroux is at his best when he tells [people’s] stories, happy and sad . . . Theroux’s great mission had always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself—and thus, to challenge us." — Boston Globe A decade ago, Paul Theroux’s best-selling Dark Star Safari chronicled his epic overland voyage from Cairo to Cape Town, providing an insider’s look at modern Africa. Now, with The Last Train to Zona Verde, he returns to discover how both he and Africa have changed in the ensuing years. Traveling alone, Theroux sets out from Cape Town, going north through South Africa, Namibia, then into Angola, encountering a world increasingly removed from tourists’ itineraries and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. After covering nearly 2,500 arduous miles, he cuts short his journey, a decision he chronicles with unsparing honesty in a chapter titled “What Am I Doing Here?” Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, The Last Train to Zona Verde is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers. "Everything is under scrutiny in Paul Theroux’s latest travel book—not just the people, landscapes and sociopolitical realities of the countries he visits, but his own motivations for going where he goes . . . His readers can only be grateful." — Seattle Times “If this book is proof, age has not slowed Theroux or encouraged him to rest on his achievements . . . Gutsy, alert to Africa's struggles, its injustices and history.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Author: Margaret Eby
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Genre: Literary Criticism
A literary travelogue into the heart of classic Southern literature. What is it about the South that has inspired so much of America's greatest literature? And why, when we think of Flannery O'Connor or William Faulkner or Harper Lee, do we think of them not just as writers, but as Southern writers? In South Toward Home, Margaret Eby—herself a Southerner—travels through the South in search of answers to these questions, visiting the hometowns and stomping grounds of some of our most beloved authors. From Mississippi (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright) to Alabama (Harper Lee, Truman Capote) to Georgia (Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews) and beyond, Eby looks deeply at the places that these authors lived in and wrote about. South Toward Home reveals how these authors took the people and places they knew best and transmuted them into lasting literature. Side by side with Eby, we meet the man who feeds the peacocks at Andalusia, the Georgia farm where Flannery O'Connor wrote her most powerful stories; we peek into William Faulkner's liquor cabinet to better understand the man who claimed civilization began with distillation and the "postage stamp of native soil" that inspired him; and we go in search of one of New Orleans's iconic hot dog vendors, a job held by Ignatius J. Reilly in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. From the library that showed Richard Wright that there was a way out to the courtroom at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird, Eby grapples with a land fraught with history and mythology, for, as Eudora Welty wrote, "One place understood helps us understand all places better." Combining biographical detail with expert criticism, Eby delivers a rich and evocative tribute to the literary South.
In the Washington Post Book World, Sven Birkerts called this exuberant novel "a complex and gripping work of invention and confession . . . I understood again how the prose of a true writer can bring us to a world beyond." The book spans almost thirty years in the life of a fictional "Paul Theroux," who moves through young bachelorhood in Africa, in and out of marriage, affairs, and employment, and between continents. It's a wry, worldly, erotic, and deeply moving account of one man's first half century - "among the strongest things Theroux has ever written" (New York Times Book Review).
Paul Theroux celebrates fifty years of wandering the globe by collecting the best writing on travel from the books that shaped him, as a reader and a traveler. Part philosophical guide, part miscellany, part reminiscence, The Tao of Travel enumerates “The Contents of Some Travelers’ Bags” and exposes “Writers Who Wrote about Places They Never Visited”; tracks extreme journeys in “Travel as an Ordeal” and highlights some of “Travelers’ Favorite Places.” Excerpts from the best of Theroux’s own work are interspersed with selections from travelers both familiar and unexpected: Vladimir Nabokov J.R.R. Tolkien Samuel Johnson Eudora Welty Evelyn Waugh Isak Dinesen Charles Dickens James Baldwin Henry David Thoreau Pico Iyer Mark Twain Anton Chekhov Bruce Chatwin John McPhee Freya Stark Peter Matthiessen Graham Greene Ernest Hemingway The Tao of Travel is a unique tribute to the pleasures and pains of travel in its golden age.
Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux winds up on the poky, wandering Old Patagonian Express steam engine, which comes to a halt in a desolate land of cracked hills and thorn bushes. But with Theroux the view along the way is what matters: the monologuing Mr. Thornberry in Costa Rica, the bogus priest of Cali, and the blind Jorge Luis Borges, who delights in having Theroux read Robert Louis Stevenson to him.
“Theroux possesses a fabulously nasty sense of humor.” — Stephen King, New York Times Book Review To those in her Cape Cod town, Mother is an exemplar of piety, frugality, and hard work. To her husband and seven children, she is a selfish, petty tyrant. She excels at playing her offspring against each other. Her favorite, Angela, died in childbirth; only Angela really understands her, she tells the others. The others include the officious lawyer, Fred; the uproarious professor, Floyd; a pair of inseparable sisters whose devotion to Mother has consumed their lives; and JP, the narrator, a successful writer whose work she disparages. As she lives well past the age of one hundred, her brood struggles with and among themselves to shed her viselike hold on them. Mother Land is a piercing portrait of how a parent’s narcissism impacts a family. While the particulars of his tale are unique, Paul Theroux encapsulates with acute clarity and wisdom a circumstance that is familiar to millions of readers. “Paul Theroux ladles a steaming cup of dysfunctional-family chowder in Mother Land.” — Vanity Fair “An engrossing, emotionally tangled and often merciless examination of family and self . . . Mother Land is a bittersweet, brutally frank family saga that offers enough redemption to make the journey worth it.” — Shelf Awareness