South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon To Understand the Soul of a Nation

HarperAudio. Jan. 2022. 16:32 hrs. ISBN 9780063095304. $36.99. HIST
PEN America prize winner Perry (African American studies, Princeton Univ.; Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry) narrates her book that combines memoir, history, and travel narrative as she winds her way through the American South. Her stated goal is to examine the South as both a series of micro-environments shaped by local history and geography and as a macrocosm for the often-fraught history and reality of the United States as a whole. It’s a tall order, and one whose success as an audio production depends on listeners’ willingness to wander with Perry on a lengthy journey that takes her close to her own roots in Alabama, as well as many places she’s rarely or never been before. Perry is soft-spoken and deliberate in her pacing, which allows listeners to fully explore the topic. Those who enjoy an immersive and unhurried nonfiction experience will be rewarded by this examination of how we often blend the personal, the historical, and the political.
VERDICT Recommended for listeners who appreciate the works of Isabel Wilkerson and Morgan Jerkins.
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