Monday, January 15, 2024

What I Read #2-3: Tony Horwitz Travels the South


A couple of weeks ago, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley bumbled it big time in a town hall, responding to a question about the causes of the Civil War without mentioning slavery. Her word salad of a response was completely inappropriate for someone running for a national office, but it echoed many things I've heard throughout my lifetime as a Southern woman. 

There are some deeper questions about those issues that I'm still contemplating and will likely write about sometime soon, but it reminded me of a book that's been sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read for a while now.

I first read Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic when it came out in 1999, and his later book, Spying on the South, coming 20 years later seemd intriguing. I decided that before I read Syping, I should re-read the original book first. Both are travelogues that explore the attitudes of modern-day Southerners about the South, the Civil War, and America. 

They are both funny and frightening, engaging and thought-provoking. 

In Confederates, the hints of the growing divide that is putting our nation's future at risk are glaringly evident, and 20 years of hindsight makes me think Horwitz was even more on point than he seemed at the turn of the century. 

All in all, they left me with even more to ponder on as I think about history both personal and public, and where we are headed as a nation in a year that I think might be a watershed for the future or failure of our country. 


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