Let’s talk about secession.
Not exactly the most suitable cocktail party conversation starter anywhere in the country. But take that notion deep into the heart of Dixie, and you might find yourself running from the possum-hunting conservatives, trailer-park lifers, and prayer warriors Chuck Thompson encountered during the two years he spent traveling the American South asking the question: Would we be better off without ’em?
The result is a heavily researched, serious inquiry into national divides which is unabashedly controversial, often uproarious, and always thought-provoking. From a church service in Mobile, Alabama, where the gospel entertainer announces, "Islam is upon us!" to a store selling Ku Klux Klan memorabilia on a quaint little street in South Carolina - Thompson lifts the green velvet drapes on a South that would seem to belong more to the time of Rhett and Scarlett than the dawn of the twenty-first century.
By crunching numbers, interviewing experts, and roaming the not-so-former Confederacy, Thompson - an openly disgruntled liberal from the Northwest - makes a compelling case for southern secession. What would the new nations look like if Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was elected as the first President of the Confederate States of America? If a southern electorate was left to fend for itself while the North did damage control on an economy decimated by cut-rate southern workers who operate as a rival nation within its own borders? If the BCS championship football game were replaced by a North vs. South Coca Cola/ Starbucks Blood Bowl? If Florida went to the South and Texas to the North in the most complex land-and-population grab in American history?
Better Off Without ’Em is a deliberately provocative book whose insight, humor, fierce and fearless politics, and sheer nerve will spark a national debate that is perhaps long overdue.
©2012 Chuck Thompson (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Not exactly the height of scholarship, but hilarious. And informative. It's like taking a trip to a fantasy world where things like this are actually possible. A nice follow up to the more serious book called "American Nations" whose author's name slips my mind at the moment. The reader is perfect, and almost turns the book into a stand up comedy ruitine. It's a joyride that is more than worth the price of admission.
All the states that have threatened to secede since Obama was elected (twice) by a huge majority should be allowed to go. i say we call their bluff. I loved the author's sense of humor. It may have seemed snarky to some, but no worse than people on the other side dish out constantly. He made some very good points that might make people on both sides think about how we have been a divided nation since the beginning.
That we would think of the south like Mexico, but with an even more corrupt government. That made me laugh!
Candidly written and well researched. The narrator was easy to follow, but not boring. His use of local dialects was comically convincing.
As a northerner who moved to Kentucky for 3 years, I understand how he felt. You think that all the stereotypes on TV are exaggerated... they're not. Racism is very much alive and flourishing in government, schools and society in the south. My kids came home from school loaded with misinformation that I had to explain. As far as I can tell, they have no interest in maintaining a diverse society. It does make sense to stop spending our time and resources trying to convince them.
My only complaint was the football chapter, but not for the reason that the author predicted. He didn't talk about the young college sports players who are tricked into years of servitude with promises of a better life, all so school officials, media giants and others can get rich. It is another tactic used to justify cheap labor and minimal liability and it's the topic that should have been highlighted if the author felt the need to talk about football at all.
Loved every word. So much truth. So much snark. Thompson is a joy to read, even in the midst of this election where so many of his predictions in this book have come true. I'm a born and bred Floridian, the daughter of a Yankee and a Southern belle, and have struggled with Southernness for my whole life. This book was fun to listen to and dared to go where few have gone before. And major BRAVO to the voice performer. Excellent reading.
Great book, very well narrated. super funny, I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. Its a humorous book but also well thought out and researched. I personally can't wait for the Starbucks/Coca Cola Blood Bowl (read the book and you'll know what this is).
Even after finishing the book I'm still not completely convinced of the author's treatise. But this is a well-researched exquisitely written treatise for southern secession.
Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.
This book was so entertaining and on the money. The narrator was perfect for this book; his voice was definitely an easy listen and really gave this book some personality. I grew up in Texas, and live in Memphis so I can attest that, for a huge part of this population, the beliefs of some simply cannot be swayed with facts.
Chuck Thompson really has captured the essence of the south in a humorous and thought provokingly manner. As a southerner who appreciates science and fact, I could not be offended by what he presented, though I know quite a few that might be. I actually laughed aloud in public places while listening to his encounters. This is definitely not a wasted credit. I'm really not sure how to fix what's wrong with this place, but succession could be a plan!
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