10 books like Old South, New South

By Gavin Wright,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Old South, New South. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Book cover of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Wilkerson embeds us with some of the millions of Black men and women who fled the Jim Crow South between 1915 and 1970, describing communities abandoned and hopes realized or disappointed. Robert Foster left his Louisiana town for Southern California, where he navigated new forms of racism to establish himself as a surgeon and prominent social figure. Ida Mae Gladney took her family from Mississippi to Chicago, where lodging, segregation, and “mind-numbing labor” scarcely improved on that of the South. But it was in Chicago that Ida Mae was first able to vote. Through the lives of people like these, Wilkerson paints a sweeping history of twentieth-century America that tells us as much about a country and an era as Tolstoy did in War and Peace.

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Warmth of Other Suns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize–winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official…


The Mind of the South

By W.J. Cash,

Book cover of The Mind of the South

Though published in 1941, this book remains, for my money, at least, the most insightful book on white southerners. In an account equally rich in provocative thought and vivid phraseology, Cash explored the roots of the historically fierce masculine individualism, and near-visceral hostility to new ideas—the "savage ideal," he called it—that not only kept the South a hot mess most of the time, but sustained it as "not quite a nation within a nation, but the next thing to it" right up to the eve of American entry in World War II. Cash trembled at the prospect of the powerful, likely irreversible new forces unleashed by this momentous development colliding with the South's historically rigid resistance to change. When the time came, however, the region would show a “capacity for adjustment” that would have astounded its reproving, though still affectionate son, had he not taken his own life just short…

The Mind of the South

By W.J. Cash,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mind of the South as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since its publication in 1941, The Mind of the South has been recognized as a path-breaking work of scholarship and as a literary achievement of enormous eloquence and insight in its own right. From its investigation of the Southern class system to its pioneering assessments of the region's legacies of racism, religiosity, and romanticism, W. J. Cash's book defined the way in which millions of readers— on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line—would see the South for decades to come. This fiftieth-anniversary edition of The Mind of the South includes an incisive analysis of Cash himself and of his…


Black Culture and Black Consciousness

By Lawrence W. Levine,

Book cover of Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom

Though the title suggests a rather exclusive focus on black culture, this incisive yet impassioned book shows that culture continually evolving and adapting, as traditional African practices and beliefs interacted with those of the whites who first enslaved African peoples and later consigned them to the hardship and humiliation of the Jim Crow system. The result is a brilliant, engaging, almost seamless narrative of the ongoing cultural synthesis that shaped the identities of both blacks and whites, in the South, and ultimately, throughout the nation.

Black Culture and Black Consciousness

By Lawrence W. Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Culture and Black Consciousness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Black Culture and Black Consciousness first appeared thirty years ago, it marked a revolution in our understanding of African American history. Contrary to prevailing ideas at the time, which held that African culture disappeared quickly under slavery and that black Americans had little group pride, history, or cohesiveness, Levine uncovered a cultural treasure trove, illuminating a rich and complex African American oral tradition, including songs,
proverbs, jokes, folktales, and long narrative poems called toasts-work that dated from before and after emancipation. The fact that these ideas and sources seem so commonplace now is in large part due this book…


The Burden of Southern History

By C. Vann Woodward,

Book cover of The Burden of Southern History

C. Vann Woodward easily ranks as the greatest historian of the American South to date, and his pre-eminence in the field was already established when this volume of his essays first appeared in 1960. Woodward's masterful sense of irony permeates this collection, in which he offers original alternative perspectives on the South's experience both within and apart from the nation's experience. The essays themselves were also marked by a literary grace rarely found in historical writing of any era. Though Flannery O'Connor was hardly given to praising southern writers not named Faulkner, after devouring the collection, she reported to a friend that she had "taken up reading C. Vann Woodward" because "this man knows how to write English."

The Burden of Southern History

By C. Vann Woodward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Burden of Southern History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

C. Vann Woodward's The Burden of Southern History remains one of the essential history texts of our time. In it Woodward brilliantly addresses the interrelated themes of southern identity, southern distinctiveness, and the strains of irony that characterize much of the South's historical experience. First published in 1960, the book quickly became a touchstone for generations of students. This updated third edition contains a chapter, Look Away, Look Away, in which Woodward finds a plethora of additional ironies in the South's experience. It also includes previously uncollected appreciations of Robert Penn Warren, to whom the book was originally dedicated, and…


The Wages of Destruction

By Adam Tooze,

Book cover of The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy

Tooze uses his mastery of economic sources to construct a brilliant, often startling, reinterpretation of Nazi geopolitics. He offers a comprehensive economic interpretation of the Nazi drive for expansionism in the 1930s, Hitler’s decision for war in 1939, and the timing and shape of the Barbarossa offensive against the Soviet Union in 1941. The Wages of Destruction also explores the economic dimensions of Hitler’s plans to liquidate the European Jews and other racial enemies. Perhaps his most arresting argument is that the rise of the United States as an economic superpower in the early twentieth century drove the politics of German ultranationalism between the wars.

The Wages of Destruction

By Adam Tooze,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wages of Destruction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Masterful . . . [A] painstakingly researched, astonishingly erudite study...Tooze has added his name to the roll call of top-class scholars of Nazism." -Financial Times

An extraordinary mythology has grown up around the Third Reich that hovers over political and moral debate even today. Adam Tooze's controversial book challenges the conventional economic interpretations of that period to explore how Hitler's surprisingly prescient vision--ultimately hindered by Germany's limited resources and his own racial ideology--was to create a German super-state to dominate Europe and compete with what he saw as America's overwhelming power in a soon-to- be globalized world. The Wages of…


The Political Economy of Central America Since 1920

By Victor Bulmer-Thomas,

Book cover of The Political Economy of Central America Since 1920

It is very rare for economists to write clearly and intelligibly for lay readers. It is even rarer that the complexities of the Central American economies are lucidly explained at both macro- and micro-levels, with a critique that is profound and alternatives that are viable. Although some things have changed in the last thirty years, it is simply not possible to understand contemporary Central America without knowledge of its previous political economy.

The Political Economy of Central America Since 1920

By Victor Bulmer-Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Political Economy of Central America Since 1920 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book Victor Bulmer-Thomas uses his previously unpublished estimates of the national accounts to explore economic and social development in the five Central American republics from 1920. He examines in detail variations in economic policy between countries which help to account for differences in performance. The major political developments are woven into the analysis and linked to changes in internal and external conditions. Growth under liberal oligarchic rule in the 1920s, heavily dependent on exports of coffee and bananas, was accompanied by modest reform programmes. The 1929 depression, which hit the region hard, undermined most of the reforms and…


Operation Chowhound

By Stephen Dando-Collins,

Book cover of Operation Chowhound: The Most Risky, Most Glorious US Bomber Mission of WWII

This is the true story of a little-known operation late in WWII. In 1945, 3.4 million civilians in German-occupied Holland were starving, but the war still continued. Organized by the Allies, Operation Chowhound was to use bombers to drop food to help, but how were they to avoid being shot down by Nazi antiaircraft batteries? With the agreement of the German troops not to fire on them. Flying at treetop level, the American aircrews would have had no chance if their B-17s were hit. Yet, over Chowhound's eight days, 120,000 German troops never fired on the American bombers. Grateful Dutch civilians spelled out "Thanks Boys" in the tulip fields below. 

Operation Chowhound

By Stephen Dando-Collins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Operation Chowhound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beginning with a crazy plan hatched by a suspect prince, and an even crazier reliance on the word of the Nazis, Operation Chowhound was devised. Between May 1 and May 8, 1945, 2,268 military units flown by the USAAF, dropped food to 3.5 million starving Dutch civilians in German-occupied Holland.

It took raw courage to fly on Operation Chowhound, as American aircrews never knew when the German AAA might open fire on them or if Luftwaffe fighters might jump them. Flying at 400 feet, barely above the tree tops, with guns pointed directly at them, they would have no chance…


A Full-Value Ruble

By Kristy Ironside,

Book cover of A Full-Value Ruble: The Promise of Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union

A Full-Value Ruble is economic history at its best. Using Soviet archival materials for both the Stalin and Khrushchev periods, Kristy Ironside shows how indispensable money was to an economy that, for ideological reasons, aimed at abolishing it. But a strong ruble (and not just any currency) did not mean that the underlying economy was strong. Using money as a lens, the author provides the reader with a multi-faceted view of Soviet urban and rural daily life in peace, war, and reconstruction.

A Full-Value Ruble

By Kristy Ironside,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Full-Value Ruble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new history shows that, despite Marxism's rejection of money, the ruble was critical to the Soviet Union's promise of shared prosperity for its citizens.

In spite of Karl Marx's proclamation that money would become obsolete under Communism, the ruble remained a key feature of Soviet life. In fact, although Western economists typically concluded that money ultimately played a limited role in the Soviet Union, Kristy Ironside argues that money was both more important and more powerful than most histories have recognized. After the Second World War, money was resurrected as an essential tool of Soviet governance. Certainly, its importance…


Modernization from the Other Shore

By David C. Engerman,

Book cover of Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development

American observers were endlessly fascinated by Russia long before the Cold War began and before supposed Russian election interference became a news item. However, they could never make up their minds about what made the Russian people tick. In this eye-opening book, David Engerman shows how American journalists, diplomats, and social scientists romanticized and ridiculed Russian peasants, praised or condemned the attempts by the Tsar and the Bolsheviks to modernize Russia by force, and marbled at the Russian “national character.” Engerman in a masterly fashion reveals how prejudices have shaped American views of Russia.

Modernization from the Other Shore

By David C. Engerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Modernization from the Other Shore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the late nineteenth century to the eve of World War II, America's experts on Russia watched as Russia and the Soviet Union embarked on a course of rapid industrialization. Captivated by the idea of modernization, diplomats, journalists, and scholars across the political spectrum rationalized the enormous human cost of this path to progress. In a fascinating examination of this crucial era, David Engerman underscores the key role economic development played in America's understanding of Russia and explores its profound effects on U.S. policy.

American intellectuals from George Kennan to Samuel Harper to Calvin Hoover understood Russian events in terms…


Daring to Look

By Anne Whiston Spirn,

Book cover of Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field

Dorothea Lange was employed by the Farm Securities Administration to photograph the conditions of the Depression, including the Dust Bowl and its migrants. She was an art photographer with a social justice streak whose detailed captions recorded details of the lives of her subjects. Spirn chronicles how Lange made her narrative case through her photographic choices and documentation. The book also presents a marvelous collection of lesser-known Lange photographs.

Daring to Look

By Anne Whiston Spirn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daring to Look as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Daring to Look" presents never-before-published photos and captions from Dorothea Lange's fieldwork in California, the Pacific Northwest, and North Carolina during 1939. Lange's images of squatter camps, benighted farmers, and stark landscapes are stunning, and her captions - which range from simple explanations of settings to historical notes and biographical sketches - add unexpected depth, bringing her subjects and their struggles unforgettably to life, often in their own words. When Lange was dismissed from the Farm Security Administration at the end of 1939, these photos and field notes were consigned to archives, where they languished, rarely seen. With "Daring to…


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