Hello, greetings from my new homeplace. As a Southerner and native Northwestern Floridian, my blood runs deep in the kudzu and red dirt despite higher elevation. But I have a request for anyone, from any region of our country > Stop everything you are doing and read Paul Theroux's book Deep South right now, or tomorrow, preferrable with coffee, sweet tea, or a hot toddy. (Book Photos by talented and uber famous Steve McCurry, by the way). Let's go > ...
Travel journalists usually impress me with their courage to go beyond comfort zones, but Theroux is aware of his privilege as a white male writer, and it shows as he navigates the dark underbelly of Southern myths and the even darker side of ugly crimes rooted in race. Through his privilege, he does have access to places and people a woman or black writer may not have, which although a bleak point now, serves the public as he finds how little the South has changed after the Civil Rights era. But let not yee think this book is a preaching tome, a manisfesto of all we've done wrong as white Americans, or as modern American readers of any color. The author assumes we are intelligent enough to know what work is left to do. The book is chopped into fine small chapters for busy readers, and it doesn't choose to remain in only a swamp or on a rainbow. Here, you find history revisited (the author's visit to Faulkner's home is entertaining, not preachy), while his visit to Emmett Till's home town is akin to a trip to an post apocalyptic town, adorned with the blood of innocent black men almost tangible on the walls of empty broken buildings.
Read it. Be well. Be smarter.
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