Historian Glenn Feldman gathers together a group of essays that examine the efforts of important scholars to discuss and define the South's distinctiveness. The volume includes 18 chapters on such notable historians as John Hope Franklin, Anne Firor Scott, Frank L. Owsley, W. J. Cash, and C. Vann Woodward, written by 19 different researchers, both senior historians and emerging scholars, including Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, John Shelton Reed, Bruce Clayton, and Ted Ownby. The essays examine the major work or works of each scholar under consideration as well as that scholar's overall contribution to the study of southern history. Reading Southern History will enlighten readers on the more compelling themes currently and traditionally explored by southern historians. It will appeal greatly to professors and students as a valuable multidisciplinary introduction to the study of southern history, since several of the essays are on scholars who are working outside the discipline of history proper, in the fields of political science, sociology, journalism, and economics.
Feldman's collection, therefore, sheds light on a broad spectrum of themes important in southern history, including the plight of poor whites, race, debates over race and class, the "reconstruction syndrome," continuity versus discontinuity in relation to blacks and whites, and regional culture and distinctiveness. Reading Southern History will be valuable to students and scholars of women's studies, African American history, working-class history, and ethnic studies, as well as traditional southern history. Most important, the publication makes a significant contribution to the development and ongoing study of the historiography of the South.