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From the Publisher
"In the great interpretative tradition of his mentor, C. Vann Woodward, Sheldon Hackney in Magnolias without Moonlight navigates cultural themes with subtlety and precision. No one does the gamut of Southern History better. These essays provide an unflinching portrait of the cycle of change reaching from the colonial to the modern. Sound and thoughtful, wide ranging and deep, the essays are remarkable for their intelligence and heart. All his life Hackney has been in the service of his country–in the navy, in the government, in college teaching and administration, and as a scholar; he continues that service in his concern for justice, racial reconciliation, and the struggle for freedom. This is a well balanced work of remarkable achievement, simply brilliant."
– Vernon Burton, University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"These wise and elegant essays on what it means and has meant to be both Southern and American should remind us of how fortunate we are to have Sheldon Hackney back among us, instructing us as historian and writer, after his long sojourn as university president and N.E.H. chairman. He unravels ironies and complexities, reveals the bright moon that sometimes has shone on us, but always keeps his eye on the defeat, failure, and downright meanness that has been part of our history. These essays may help us to lighten the burdens. "
– Paul Gaston, professor emeritus of Southern and Civil Rights History, University of Virginia
"Sheldon Hackney offers us a vivid and insightful portrait of the continuing burden of southern history and of the complex ways in which we have been shaped as a nation by the complexities of race and freedom that lie at the heart of the southern experience."
– Drew Faust, dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
"Alabamian Sheldon Hackney is a brilliant scholar and shrewd administrator who does well in the eyes of Clio. He also does well in the eyes of man and state, having served successfully as president of the University of Pennsylvania (1981-1993) and as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1993-1997), both politically charged postings where a person could do damage or could be damaged. Besides a careful attention to detail, he defends himself with a droll and disarming sense of humor, and both characteristics are much in evidence in this charming set of essays."
– John Herbert Roper, Emory and Henry College