South to America South to America

South to America

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

    • 4.1 • 48 Ratings
    • $15.99
    • $15.99

Publisher Description

WINNER OF THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“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

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.  

A Recommended Read from: The New Yorker • The New York Times • TIME • Oprah Daily • USA Today • Vulture • Essence • Esquire • W Magazine • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • PopSugar • Book Riot • Chicago Review of Books • Electric Literature • Lit Hub 

GENRE
History
RELEASED
2022
January 25
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
432
Pages
PUBLISHER
Ecco
SELLER
HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS
SIZE
2
MB

Customer Reviews

raresilk ,

A poem, a prayer, an anthem

Never going to forget this book.

Richard Bakare ,

The Soul of a Nation

South to America is excellent in every way. Imani Perry’s brilliant use of lyrical language paints vivid vistas in your mind of the South that are both beautiful and gut wrenching. Most importantly she reminds us that the very definition of what constitutes the South is limited compared to how global and reaching it is on the United States mainland. That said she goes about covering every side of the conversation about race in America with grace and academic integrity. While also demonstrating again and again the revisionist history that is the foundation of the idea of American Exceptionalism.

The history we are taught is at best murky and Perry challenges the bigoted portrayal of Black people in America. Along the way she shows how moral inconsistencies abound. Even in the hardest moments to swallow Perry demonstrates how blood, migratory patterns, and economic engines bind, or more aptly make indebted, the North to the South. Even yet, the South, and Black America, goes unthanked for its deep and lasting cultural impacts on the broader American culture.

Beyond the history we get candid personal anecdotes and interviews that show how the the macro civil rights movement impacts individual outcomes. The personal touch makes this book read at times like a love story to Black America and at others a warning. The praise highlighting the ways in which Black culture is distinct and has shaped the broader American culture. The warning is a reminder of the traps, imposed and self-inflicted, that hold us back. This book should find a home comfortably in between Heather McGee’s “The Sum of Us” and Isabelle Wilkerson’s “Caste” on most book shelves.

More Books Like This

The Souls of Black Folk The Souls of Black Folk
2010
The Souls of Black Folk The Souls of Black Folk
2012
On Juneteenth On Juneteenth
2021
Trace Trace
2015
In the Shadow of Statues In the Shadow of Statues
2018
Spying on the South Spying on the South
2019

More Books by Imani Perry

The Art Album The Art Album
2015
Breathe Breathe
2019
Looking for Lorraine Looking for Lorraine
2018
Prophets of the Hood Prophets of the Hood
2004
Profession 2012 Profession 2012
2013
May We Forever Stand May We Forever Stand
2018

Customers Also Bought

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
2020
How the Word Is Passed How the Word Is Passed
2021
Four Hundred Souls Four Hundred Souls
2021
Stony the Road Stony the Road
2019
Poverty, by America Poverty, by America
2023
King: A Life King: A Life
2023