Harper Academic

South to America

A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

by Imani Perry

On Sale: 01/25/2022

Price: $28.99

South to America

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South to America

A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

by Imani Perry

On Sale: 01/25/2022

Format:

Price: $28.99

About the Book

“An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South—and thus of America—by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.”

—Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South—and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America

We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole.

This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life.

Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line.  

Critical Praise

"In South to America, Perry shows readers that there is no one archetype of the American South, as she considers everything from immigrant communities to the legacy of slavery to her own ancestral roots." - Time

“Perry is deft and disciplined, her efforts to situate the beauty, oddity, and terror that mark southern life are critical and compelling. As a travel writer, she embraces detours with an eye toward discovery…. Perry asks what it means to be tied to a ‘land of big dreams and bigger lies’ when one is committed to the pursuit of a truth that bursts the nation at its seams.” - Vulture

“Breathtaking…. Extraordinary…. In the realm of Southern letters it has no real antecedent. It is that fresh, that vital, that intellectually supercharged, that incandescent.” - Garden & Gun

"Perry’s seamlessly crafted work is a tour-de-force reckoning." - Literary Hub

“[Perry] melds memoir, travel narrative, and history in an intimate, penetrating journey through the South…. A graceful, finely crafted examination of America’s racial, cultural, and political identity. Perry always delivers.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] saturated, gorgeously written, and keenly revelatory travelogue...Perry's southern tour is intimate and encompassing, finely laced and steely, affecting and transformative.”
- Booklist (starred review)

South to America marks time like Beloved did. Similarly, we will talk not solely of books about the south, but books generally as before or after South to America. I have known and loved the South for four decades and Imani Perry has shown me that there is so much more in our region’s fleshy folds to know, explore and love. It is simply the most finely crafted and rigorously conceived book about our region, and nation, I have ever read.” - Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

“In the tradition of native daughters and sons returning home and cataloging the journey, Imani Perry undertakes an exploration of and meditation on the many Souths that make up the American southland. Part pilgrimage, part elegy and clarion call, South to America is wide-ranging, associative and seamlessly woven—an ambitious sweep of history, culture, language. Perry’s intellect is capacious. Moving deftly between registers, she proves to be an insightful and compelling guide."
- Natasha Trethewey, author of Memorial Drive

“An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South—and thus of America—by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.”
- Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

“A rich and imaginative tour of a crucial piece of America.” - Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062977403
  • ISBN 10: 0062977407
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 01/25/2022
  • Trimsize: 6.000 in (w) x 9.000 in (h) x 1.330 in (d)
  • Pages: 432
  • List Price: $28.99
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
  • BISAC2 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / Discrimination & Race Relations
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs