The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States

The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States

The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States

The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States

Excerpt

This book is a book about the Deep South States, part of a series covering the story of each major geographic region and all of the 50 states of America in our time. The objective is simply to let Americans (and foreigners too) know something of the profound diversity of peoples and life styles and geographic habitat and political behavior that make this the most fascinating nation on earth.

Only one project like this has been attempted before, and it inspired these books: John Gunther Inside U.S.A. , researched during World War II and published in 1947. Gunther was the first man in U.S. history to visit each of the states and then to give a good and true account of the American condition as he found it. But his book is a quarter of a century old; it was written before the fantastic economic and population growth of the postwar era, growth that has transformed the face of this land and altered the life of its people and lifted us to heights of glory and depths of national despair beyond our wildest past dreams. Before be died, I consulted John Gunther about a new book. He recognized the need for such a work, and he gave me, as he put it, his "good luck signal."

But what was to be a single book became several, simply because I found America today too vast, too complex to fit into a single volume. A first book, The Megastates of America , treated America's 10 most heavily populated states. The series of eight regional volumes, completing the exploration of all the states in our time, began with publication of The Mountain States of America and The Pacific States of America , followed by The Great Plains States of America . This is the fourth regional volume, and will be followed by a companion book, The Border South , and separate books on the states of the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and the Great Lakes.

A word about method. Like Gunther, I traveled to each state of the Union. I talked with about 1,000 men and women--governors, Senators, Representatives, mayors, state and local officials, editors and reporters, business and labor leaders, public opinion analysts, clergymen, university presidents and professors, representatives of the Indian, black, and Spanish-speaking communities--and just plain people. Some of the people I talked with were famous, others obscure, almost all helpful.

I went by plane, then rented cars, made a personal inspection of almost . . .

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