The Southern Tradition, by Eugene D. Genovese
Eugene D. Genovese, one of America’s most distinguished historians, has previously written extensively about different aspects of Southern history. Now, in this volume—succinct, erudite, and eloquent—he describes and (at any rate partially) praises the distinctive Southern tradition of conservatism, from its beginnings to the present time.
As with some of Genovese’s earlier writings, there is a certain paradox at work in this enterprise. Here is a scholar self-identified as a man of the Left, writing with much sympathy about what is probably the most robustly conservative strand in American political thought. Genovese, of course, is fully aware of the paradox, and he forthrightly explains his affinity with this tradition. Indeed, he argues that its story may contain lessons for a Left seeking to come to terms with the collapse of Marxism. It is this aspect of the book that makes it interesting far beyond its historical subject matter.
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