SOCIAL SCIENCES

Deep South

Steve McCurry (photos). Eamon Dolan: Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9780544323520. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780544323537. TRAV
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Theroux's (The Mosquito Coast; Ghost Train on the Eastern Star) title takes us on a trip to a part of the South few seek out. He avoids big cities such as Atlanta and New Orleans and heads to the Deep South: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina. The author visits, several times in some cases, a number of the poorest cities and communities in the nation. The result is a socially conscious travelog, with a good deal of Southern history thrown in, including literature, race relations, and economics. Theroux writes of the people he meets with sympathy and verve, and though many seem to fit Southern stereotypes, they still come across as genuine on the page. It's the people of the Deep South—from the frat boys and Southern preachers to African American farmers and local officials—working to save their small towns who bring this book to life.
VERDICT A literary travelog that will interest readers of Southern history and literature and anyone with an interest in American urban history and the plight of the poor. [See Prepub Alert, 3/30/15.]

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