Magnolias without Moonlight: The American South from Regional Confederacy to National Integration / Edition 1

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The eleven ex-Confederate states continue to be thoroughly American and at the same time an exception to the national mainstream. The region's dual personality, how it came into being, and the purposes and interests it served is examined here, as well as its central role in the politics and "culture wars" flowing from the transformative Civil Rights Movement and the other social justice movements of the 1950s and 1960s.

The essays on this theme include a penetrating explication of C. Vann Woodward's masterpiece, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913, which is explicitly informed by the scholarship of the fifty years since the book's original publication. Hackney explores the political transformation of the South and the "identity politics" that continue to structure national political competition. The bi-racial nature of Southern society lies at the heart of Southern identity in all of its varieties. Understanding that identity is a purpose that underlies all of the chapters. Hackney uses quantitative analysis of hom-icide data to establish beyond doubt for the first time that the South has long been more violent, and that there is a cultural component of that violence that exists beyond the usual social predictors of higher homicide rates in the United States. He muses over the failure of the usual social predictors of votes for the Democratic Party to predict the party's performance in the region.

Timely, elegantly written, and wide in intellectual scope, Magnolias without Moonlight will be of interest to a broad readership of historians, cultural studies specialists, political scientists, and sociologists.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765802934
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/20/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 165
  • Sales rank: 1,543,958
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheldon Hackney is David Boies Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. He was president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1981 to 1983 and served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1993 to 1997. Among his books are Populism to Progressivism in Alabama, One America Indivisible: A National Conversation on American Pluralism and Identity, and The Politics of Presidential Appointment: A Memoir of the Culture War.

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Table of Contents

1 Southern violence 1
2 Origins of the new south in retrospect 23
3 "Origins of the new south in retrospect" thirty years later 49
4 The south as a counterculture 59
5 The Clay County origins of Justice Black : the populist as insider 69
6 Little rock and the promise of America 77
7 C. Vann Woodward, 1908-1999 : in memoriam 83
8 The contradictory south 93
9 Identity politics, southern style 109
10 Shades of freedom in America 123
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