South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
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About the Author
Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Perry is the author of Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, winner of the 2019 Bograd-Weld Biography Prize from the Pen America Foundation. She is also the author of Breathe: A Letter to My Sons; Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation; and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem. Perry, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, who grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago, lives outside Philadelphia with her two sons.
"[Perry] melds memoir, travel narrative, and history in an intimate, penetrating journey through the South.... A graceful, finely crafted examination of America's racial, cultural, and political identity. Perry always delivers."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A] saturated, gorgeously written, and keenly revelatory travelogue...Perry's southern tour is intimate and encompassing, finely laced and steely, affecting and transformative."
--Booklist (starred review)
"Breathtaking.... Extraordinary.... In the realm of Southern letters it has no real antecedent. It is that fresh, that vital, that intellectually supercharged, that incandescent."--Garden & Gun
In South to America, Perry shows readers that there is no one archetype of the American South, as she considers everything from immigrant communities to the legacy of slavery to her own ancestral roots.--Time
"Perry is deft and disciplined, her efforts to situate the beauty, oddity, and terror that mark southern life are critical and compelling. As a travel writer, she embraces detours with an eye toward discovery.... Perry asks what it means to be tied to a 'land of big dreams and bigger lies' when one is committed to the pursuit of a truth that bursts the nation at its seams."--Vulture
Perry's seamlessly crafted work is a tour-de-force reckoning.--Literary Hub
"Provocative, perspective-shifting.... Rendered in exquisite detail.... In this vibrant, revelatory book, Perry proves herself to be a radiant storyteller...like Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Nina Simone before her."--Oprah Daily
"Engrossing.... [Perry] cannily frames her investigation as a travelogue, moving from Appalachia to the Upper South to the Deep South to outliers like Florida and Cuba.... The book's pleasures are many.... Her vignettes spark off the page.... An immersive read."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
Perry has a knack for the simple observation that showcases the contradictions Americans endure or ignore.--Washington Post