A Deeper South: The Beauty, Mystery, and Sorrow of the Southern Road

Univ. of South Carolina. May 2024. 400p. ISBN 9781643364797. pap. $27.99. TRAV
Writer/photographer/filmmaker Candler’s book takes readers on a figurative odyssey that goes from Georgia and through Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and other southeastern states. A member of a prominent Georgia family—with links to the Coca-Cola corporation, Emory University, the judiciary, and politics—Candler readily acknowledges what it means to have grown up with significant privilege and money, as he returns to places he visited 25 years ago. It’s a road trip that becomes more complex as he recognizes the role some of his ancestors played in white supremacy. Candler doesn’t approach his destinations (including the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, MS, and Beale Street in Memphis) as a tourist. Instead, he pursues personal growth and lessons about equality. His photographs in this volume capture the abrupt coexistence of the region’s romanticized past and the racist realities while also guiding readers to see the less visible, off-the-beaten-path places that emphasize the decay or disrepair of Southern history. The pictures’ captions invite readers to explore the nuances and to register the ways in which their views and perceptions have been constructed.
VERDICT A beautifully crafted journey through the past and current South that will interest Southerners and readers curious about the region and its history.
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