I am reading a book that I found in my Mother’s collection called “This is the South.” It is a “portrait in depth” by “31 distinguished authors” edited by Robert West Howard, and illustrated with a wide selection of prints and photographs. Rand McNally published it in 1959.
The book is dedicated “to those families who are shaping the best of yesterday into a better tomorrow.”
I am about to start the chapter called “The Preacher” and I am only on page 81 – I’ve read the opening “Look Away,” “The Native,” “The Planter,” “The Cracker,” “The Negro,” “The Factor,” and “The Teacher” chapters so far.
It’s a timepiece. It’s respectful. It’s circumspect. It’s a fascinating look at how we all got here in the past few centuries, and each chapter is a quick read, written by an expert on the subject…
In “The Cracker",” I learned that Ponce De Leon was fatally wounded about one month after making an attempt to establish the first permanent European settlement in what is now the USA. Other momentous Ponce De Leon events like the groundbreaking of The Clermont Hotel, and the inaugural dance of Blondie Strange at The Clermont Lounge are not mentioned…
The book, and some other reading that I’m doing on the Civil War Battle of Atlanta in 1864, has led me to a much deeper interest in the gently rolling hills of our neighborhoods and to a desire to find the oldest houses and chronicled happenings in Intown Atlanta and Decatur.
The book is a really good look at how The South developed, until 1959…the transformation since then makes many in my Mom’s generation cringe…if Robert West Howard had a blog, a laptop, an Iphone, and listened to Outkast and Lynyrd Skynyrd, then my Mom would think that he is in league with Satan.
Write me if you want to get together on July 21 – a Thursday afternoon, and go to The Cyclorama in Grant Park. I blocked my afternoon that day for an Intown Insider gathering – The Cyclorama, then beers and snacks on the rooftop at Six Feet Under.
Wanna join me? Email or text me.
Robert West Howard was a Yankee, by the way. He edited “This is the West” prior to writing his Southern collection. This man built communities of writers and created books that are still worth reading – I suggest that you pick up a copy!