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Recommended Reading

Introduction

Since this site is about celebrating the South, the books recommended here are primarily, but not exclusively, written from a Southern perspective. Most history books used in grade schools and universities today are written by Northerners and published by Northern presses. They tend to either ignore Southern contributions to America, or put the South in a negative light. We encourage you to examine these books and discover “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say. We are not in the business of selling items or making money, so we suggest that if you wish to purchase one of these books you either go to your local book store (they can order it for you if they don’t carry it), or go to an online source.

Two sources for getting the recommended books are: Laissez Faire Books & Amazon.com

 

 

The Scotch-Irish, a Social History

James G. Leyburn

To James Leyburn, the Scotch-Irish were a distinct ethnic group. Leyburn traces their history from 17th century Scotland, to Ireland and finally to the American colonies. This is a fascinating book, which shows the lifestyle of a certain people that shaped their culture and character from 1600 up to even today. An excellent read and for many Southerners, possibly a good reference tool for conducting genealogy research

Cracker Culture, Celtic Ways in the Old South

Grady McWhiney

Grady McWhiney provides a provocative study of social life in the Old South that probes the origin of cultural differences between the South and the North throughout American history. Fundamental differences between Southerners and Northerners shaped the course of antebellum America; their conflict in the 1860s was not so much brother against brother as culture against culture. This book, while focused on the Celtic influences on Southern culture, gives glimpses of Negro influences on Southern culture and shows how African and Celtic cultures were actually similar and compatible. A must read for any student of Southern history.

Southern Cross, The Beginnings of the Bible Belt

Christine Leigh Heyrman

In this book, Heyrman looks at periods of the colonial South and the early American Republic in which protestant denominations (specifically Baptist and Methodist) spread across the South.

A Struggle for Power, The American Revolution

Theodore Draper

Theodore Draper’s book is a dissection of the process that led to the final break with England and to armed revolt in 1775. In this book, the 40 years prior to war are covered, laying the foundation of not only the colonist’s actions, but those of the British empire.

Founding Father, Rediscovering George Washington

Richard Brookhiser

Brookhiser goes in search of the real George Washington. What he discovers is a figure who can still evoke our deepest admiration. While Brookhiser does review Washington’s military and political career, it is the analysis of Washington’s character that is the most important aspect of this book. This is a chance to understand what drove this great Southerner. This book provides us an example worthy of being emulated by all modern Southerners.  

A Consuming Fire, The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South

Eugene D. Genovese

Mr. Genovese looks at how Southerners viewed slavery right before, during and right after the War for Southern Independence. Eugene Genovese asserts that most Southerners were either in personal conflict over whether slavery should continue, or were attempting to bring slavery “up to biblical, Christian standards.” 

Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

This magnificent book demolishes one of the most insidious dogmas about our heritage, the moral justification for the War of Northern Aggression. Hummel, an economics professor at California's Golden Gate University, makes a compelling case that the War of Northern Aggression was evil, that it wasn't necessary for the liberation of slaves and that it ushered in the era of costly and oppressive big government which plagues us today.

Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia

Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.

Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia is the first comprehensive study of WBTS Afro-Virginian history and culture. Through it we witness every aspect of black life: slave and free; rural and urban; homefront and battlefield; at work on plantations but also in munitions factories in Richmond; as wartime Union spies and as soldiers in the confederate army.

Black Southerners in Gray

Richard M. Rollins

Little known stories of African-Americans who sided with the Confederacy during the War for Southern Independence.

The Jewish Confederates

Robert N. Rosen

Rosen reveals the remarkable breadth of Southern Jewry’s participation in the war and strength of Jewish commitment to the Confederate cause. Intrigued by the apparent irony of their story, Rosen weaves a surprisingly complex chronicle that dispels common misconceptions about the Confederacy, its leadership and soldiers, and its Jewish population.

Hispanic Confederates

John O'Donnell-Rosales

War for Southern Independence caught these settlers and many other businessmen, traders and sailors in a decisive situation. Should they support their respective States and the newly founded Confederate Government, or sit out the war as many foreigners did exempt from military obligations due to foreign nationality. The answer was to fight for their new found homes. The Hispanic Confederate was not fighting for the right to keep ten percent (10%) of Southern Whites as slave owners. ... The question is then, why? The answer is that they fought to maintain their way of life, and afterwards when the South was invaded to protect their families and homes.

Robert E. Lee on Leadership, Executive Lessons in Character, Courage and Vision

H.W. Crocker III

Without a doubt, Robert E. Lee was a leader for the ages. The man heralded by Winston Churchill as “one of the noblest Americans who ever lived” gives all Southerners an example from a time in our history that was at the same time one of our finest and our darkest. H. W. Crocker presents the keys to Lee’s greatness and why some did and still do consider Lee the “Washington of the Confederacy.” 

The South was Right!

James Ronald Kennedy & Walter Donald Kennedy

These Kennedy brothers are ardent Southerners who seek to present information on the South not provided in most history books used in our schools which, as the authors point out, are written and published in the Northeast. In this book, the role of Northerner’s in the slave industry is examined as well as race relations, the Constitutional aspects of self determination and the relationship between the states and the federal government as intended by the Founding Fathers.

When in the Course of Human Events

Charles Adams

Now, Charles Adams, the world's leading scholar on the history of taxation, answers in a work of scholarship and piercing insight that lays all other histories to rest. What's more, Mr. Adams gives us an airtight justification for secession. Most attempts to explain the origins of the Civil War rely heavily on regional sympathies. Not so Adams. A native Northerner, he looks both sides square in the face and finds (mostly) the North wanting.

The Real Lincoln

Thomas DiLorenzo

In this blockbuster, Thomas DiLorenzo calls for a complete rethinking of a central icon of American historiography. He looks at the actions and legacy of Abe Lincoln from an economics point of view to show that Lincoln's main interest was not in opposing slavery but in advancing mercantilism, inflationism, and government spending: the "American system" of Henry Clay. DiLorenzo shows that the high tariff pushed by Northern industries, at the expense of Southern agriculture, was the main cause of the sectional conflict. Further, Lincoln's goal in preventing Southern secession was the consolidation of federal power and the collection of revenue, not the elimination of slavery. 

Myths and Realities of American Slavery: The True History of Slavery in America

John C. Perry

John Perry takes the reader through an exhaustive look at the origins and growth of slavery on the American continent and addresses the hard facts of slavery based on documented reality, not emotionalism. There is no agenda in this book except to discover the truth and look it square in the eye. All readers, regardless of their preconceived ideas concerning slavery in America, will find a wealth of information that puts the history of slavery in the proper perspective. This is without a doubt the finest book covering slavery in America, not painting an overtly positive or negative view of slavery, just reality.

War Crimes Against Southern Civilians

Walter Brian Cisco

In a series of concise and compelling chapters, the story is told of the Union's "hard war" against the people of the Confederacy-one that included the shelling and burning of cities, systematic destruction of entire districts, mass arrests, forced expulsions, wholesale plundering of personal property, and even murder. Attention is given to the suffering of African-American victims of Federal brutality. Carefully researched-largely from primary sources-this is the first book-length survey of war crimes committed by the United States against Southern civilians.

The Promise of the New South, Life After Reconstruction

Edward L. Ayers

In this volume, Edward Ayers examines the South rising out of the effects of Reconstruction, holding on to its old ways while facing the reality of a changing economy. He explores every aspect of society, politics and economy, detailing the importance of each in the emerging “New South.” Stories of Populism, race relations and all the contradictory stories that were the South around the turn of the century give insight into a recovering Southland. 

Southern by the Grace of God

Michael Andrew Grissom

Michael Andrew Grissom boldly proclaims the traditions, culture and values that have long distinguished the South from the rest of the United States. In this book, Grissom argues persuasively that being Southern is, indeed, something rare, something special, something beyond the good fortune of being an American. 

The Southern Tradition at Bay

Richard Weaver

This is Weaver's examination of the ideals and ideas of the Southern Tradition - as expressed in the military histories, autobiographies, diaries, and novels of the era following the War for Southern Independence, especially those written by men and women on the losing side.

The South Under Siege 1830 - 2000 (click here for direct ordering from the author)

Frank Conner

Written from a Southern perspective, this book examines the true relations between the North and the South from 1830 to June 2000. It identifies the real history of each region, and the lies and distortions by which the Northern liberals have created totally-false stereotypes of both the Northern liberal and the traditional Southerner. It tells what the North has done to the South; and why the North claims to have done it; and why the North really did it; and what the consequences have been.

The Oxford Book of the American South

Edited by Edward L. Ayers and Bradley C. Mittendorf

This books resonates with the words of black people and white, men and women, the powerless as well as the powerful. The collection presents the most telling fiction and nonfiction produced in the South from the late eighteenth century to the present.

Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

Charles Reagan Wilson & William Ferris

This is a ten-year project involving more than 800 scholars and writers. This book offers a portrait of a rich cultural landscape.

The South, A Treasury of Art and Literature

Edited by Lisa Howorth

This 'coffee table book' is a wonderful tomb that looks at the art and literature of the South broken down into eras. Starting at the colonial period, the editor has brought together art, literature and history covering 400 years of Southern culture and the Southern people. It is not just a book of pictures, but of letters and a review of the uniqueness of the Southern people.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South

Clint Johnson

Johnson reveals that, far from being the backwater of the nation, the South has always been the center of American culture and history and that the South is truly rising again. This book corrects many of the myths and misunderstandings perpetuated in public schools, Hollywood, and the media.

Interested in more recommended reading? Click here and see what books noted Southern historian Dr. Clyde Wilson, of the University of South Carolina, suggests.

 

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