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The American South

A Reader and Guide

Edited by Daniel Letwin

Hardback (Order Now – Reprinting)

This one-stop introduction to the American South brings together key readings in southern history, from the region's colonial beginnings to the present. Drawing together essential works in the field - selected and introduced by a range of cutting-edge scholars - The American South is the ideal textbook for undergraduates and graduate students in American Studies and History.

Explores key themes in southern history:

  • the South from colonial beginnings through the American Revolution
  • the origins and evolving character of American slavery
  • life in the antebellum South o the roots, course and consequences of the American Civil War
  • emancipation, Reconstruction and the coming of the New South
  • the rise, nature and ultimate defeat of southern segregation
  • the inter-dynamics of race, class and gender in the cultural and material development of the region
  • current trends of the American South within a global context

Key Features

  • A 'two-in-one' introduction to the American South, from its colonial beginnings to the present
  • 15 chapters organised chronologically allow readers to trace the history of the American South
  • Each chapter includes a substantial introductory essay surveying the central issues and developments, followed by 3 or 4 key readings offering a mix of classic and recent contributions


1. Thinking about the South, John B. Boles (William P. Hobby Professor of History, Rice University)
2. Origins of the Old South: The Colonial Era, Lorri Glover (Associate Professor of History, University of Tennessee)
3. The South in the Ages of the Revolution and the New Republic, Adam Rothman (Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University)
4. Slavery in the Antebellum South, Stephanie J. Shaw (Associate Professor of History, Ohio State University)
5. Class and Culture in the White South, Victoria Bynum (Professor of History, Texas State University-San Marcos)
6. The Coming of Sectional Crisis, Frank Towers (Associate Professor of History, University of Calgary)
7. The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, Anne Rubin (Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland-Baltimore County)
8. Emancipation, Reconstruction, Redemption, Kate Masur (Assistant Professor of History, Northwestern University)
9. Trials of the New South, Alex Lichtenstein (Associate Professor of History, Rice University)
10. Living Jim Crow, Stephen G. N. Tuck (University Lecturer in American History, Pembroke College, University of Oxford)
11. Worlds of Southern Labor, Eric Arnesen (Professor of History, University of Illinois-Chicago)
12. Minds of the South, Paul Harvey (Professor of History, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs)
13. The New South in Transition: New Deal, World War II, and Cold War, Kari Frederickson (Associate Professor of History, University of Alabama)
14. The Civil Rights Era, Adam Fairclough (Raymond and Beverly Sackler Chair of History and Culture of the United States, Leiden University)
15. The American South Today, Clive Webb (Reader in North American History, University of Sussex).

About the Author

Daniel Letwin is associate professor of history at Penn State University, where he specializes in labor, race relations, and the American South. He is author of The Challenge of Interracial Unionism: Alabama Coal Miners, 1878-1921. His current research explores the nettlesome issue of "social equality" in African-American thought during the Jim Crow era.


Dan Letwin and his editorial colleagues have selected a wonderful series of readings that introduce students not only to some of the classic works of southern history but to some of the most up-to-date scholarship. Not only students but teachers of southern history will benefit from this intelligent collection and the wise commentaries that accompany it.
- Tony Badger, University of Cambridge
Ranging from the colonial era to the present day, and incorporating a broad range of historical topics, this impressive collection presents readers with extracts from some of the most influential historical writings on the American South. Each of the fifteen chronological sections is introduced and contextualized by a leading scholar in the field. For students and general readers alike, The American South is the first place they ought to look for what historians past and present have had to say about southern history.
- Betty Wood, University of Cambridge
Written by leading international university scholars, this reader offers a fascinating look at the myths and realities surrounding the evolution of the South's culture and people... Anyone with an interest in American or Southern history, African American history, the history of the civil rights era, or contemporary history of the New South will benefit from this book.
- Library Journal