The Way It Was, The Way It Is

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The Mind of the South, by W.J. Cash

 

This book was written some 75 years ago, and it’s amazing to me how closely Southern attitudes, the South’s social structure, the personals and political cants of that time parallel those of the South today. It’s tempting to make an essay of this review, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll list some of the predominant traits Cash (and I) see in the ongoing South (note – some of these bear explaining, I admit, and some are contradictory):

Romantic

Primitive

Unschooled

Racist

Anti-federalist

Resistant to change

Hedonistic

Apocalyptic

Fearful

Militant

Friendly

 

The list could go on, but it would also grow more contradictory, a predominant trait of the Southern mind.

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And in keeping with these traits, Cash’s tone tends toward Southern political demagoguery, pulling back just before falling into the abyss of rant. His prose is flowery and overblown, and he repeats himself (all to the reader’s advantage in managing his data, anecdotes and perspectives) on critical points.

As a Southerner, I find little to fault in this book. It’s most accurate in its depictions of how things were in the South prior to WWII and, as above, it will enlighten the reader in understanding this sub-culture of these United States, and in how difficult it is to arrive at a national consensus on anything today.

 

My rating: 19 of 20 stars

 

 

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