The Southern Way of Life:
The Southern Way of Life: Meanings of Culture and Civilizations in the American South
by Charles Reagan Wilson
How does one begin to understand the idea of a distinctive southern way of life—a concept as enduring as it is disputed? In this examination of the American South in national and global contexts, celebrated historian Charles Reagan Wilson assesses how diverse communities of southerners have sought to define the region's identity. Surveying three centuries of southern regional consciousness across many genres, disciplines, and cultural strains, Wilson considers and challenges prior presentations of the region, advancing a vision of southern culture that has always been plural, dynamic, and complicated by race and class.
Structured in three parts, The Southern Way of Life takes readers on a journey from the colonial era to the present, from when complex ideas of "southern civilization" rooted in slaveholding and agrarianism dominated to the twenty-first-century rise of a modern, multicultural "southern living." As Wilson shows, there is no singular or essential South but rather a rich tapestry woven with contestations, contingencies, and change.