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 new, fiftieth-anniversary edition of The Mind of the South includes an incisive analysis of Cash himself and of his crucial place in the history of modern Southern letters.
The Bedrock For Southern Intellectual History
By Art Chance - December 29, 2002
For Boomer aged Southerners, there was no formal Southern history. At school you got Yankee cant; at home you got Lost Cause and Jim Crow. That doesn't fit the Chamber of Commerce image of cities too busy to hate, but that was the reality for all but the most miniscule minority of white Southerners. Through public school and college in The South, I never had a word from Southern thinkers with the minor exception of Faulkner - not much of a thinker, but a good describer. Cash was my introduction to Southern intellectual history, and by the time I found him I was far from the South in both space and time. I can feel Cash in my very bones; a dose of Tom Watson populism, a dose of Mencken's cynicism, and a whole bunch of the self-loathing that a defeated and impoverished people wore like tattered old clothes every day. Some neo-Southerners call Cash a South-hater, but they miss the point; Cash wanted desperately to love The South, but could find little to love except myth. You... read more
By A Customer - May 31, 2001
This book was suggested to me by an American History professor 10 years ago. Just recently did I get around to reading it, however, and I must say that it is an impressive analysis of the white Southern mind-set leading up to the Civil War and through the Depression. I believe that many of the same thought processes hold true to this day particularly with all the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag and its inclusion in state flags (MS, SC, GA etc) in addition to the national shift of power to Southern conservatives in the Congress last decade. The book describes the political, religious, economic and social distinctions of the South in psychological terms and often in Jungian fashion showing opposites in existence together (i.e.- hedonism and refinement, morality and slavery/Jim Crow, etc). I have lived in the South most of my life and was glad to have 'rediscovered' this interesting book. Cash's writing style is difficult to follow at first- somewhat meandering and flowery... read more
a classic-- - in fact THE classic about the South
By john m. barry - May 16, 2000
I am the author of Rising Tide, another book about the South, and the greatest compliment paid to me so far was by someone who compared my book to this brilliant book. Cash's work is certainly one of the most insightful inquiries ever written about any region, any where, by anyone. Some of Samuel Johnson's work about his travels into the Scottish Highlands comes to mind as comparable, but I can't think of any other. In fact, the southerners Cash wrote about are often descended from that same stock. Then of course there's the personal tragedy of the author's suicide. If you want to understand America, you have to read this book. A good counterpoint to this is William Alexander Percy's Lantenrs on the Levee, published the same year and also still in print. Cash writes about rednecks; Percy writes about aristocrats, chiefly his own family who considered being called "Anglo-Saxon" an insult. They, after all, were descended from the Norman conquerors nof the... read more
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