The South

B. C. Hall, Author, C. T. Wood, With
B. C. Hall, Author, C. T. Wood, With Scribner Book Company $27.5 (395p) ISBN 978-0-02-547450-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-684-81893-1
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The Mason-Dixon line refers not only to a geographic division but also to a ``moral, political and economic'' culture that Hall and Wood (coauthors of Big Muddy) reexamine in a sweeping tour of the region that is chock-full of anecdote, history and fresh insights. From Virginia to Florida, Oklahoma to Texas, the authors delineate their different ambiences, heroes, villains and common folk. A matriarchal culture and an enduring attachment to the land still characterize most of the region despite all the post-Civil War changes and the differing rates of industrialization. They also argue that a sensuousness and an inclination to myth and fantasy distinguish the South from the North. The authors investigate the influence of the ecology of each state--in their view, for example, Florida is a Mediterranean enclave--on its development and character. Their tours of Jimmy Carter's Plains, Ga., and Bill Clinton's Hope, Ark., are more than a little revealing of the influences on these two leaders, as are their dips into Jefferson's Virginia, Faulkner's Mississippi and the homes of a multitude of other literary and political figures. An intimately perceptive and vividly written portrait of the region. (Apr.)
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