• South to America

  • A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
  • By: Imani Perry
  • Narrated by: Imani Perry
  • Length: 16 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (417 ratings)

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South to America  By  cover art

South to America

By: Imani Perry
Narrated by: Imani Perry
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Publisher's summary

“An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South—and thus of America—by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.”

—Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South—and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America

We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole.

This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life.

Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line.

©2022 Imani Perry (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Interview: 'South to America' Journeys to the Heart of the Nation

'It's a journey of discovery, surprise, and revelation about the soul of our country.'
  • South to America
  • 'It's a journey of discovery, surprise, and revelation about the soul of our country.'

Editor's Pick

We're all a little bit Southern
Imani Perry is a legal scholar, a professor of African American studies at Princeton, and a lively writer; I always look forward to whatever she writes next. South to America is a journey on the page and in life, as Professor Perry travels south from Princeton, through Washington, DC, Nashville, and her native city of Birmingham, to name just a few points of interest. In each place, and in the spaces between them, she finds increasingly heartfelt and insightful answers to the questions: Whose space is this? Who is at home here? And, for those who have left, what have they been able to hold on to? She unearths previously unknown personal histories that flesh out the ''standard'' narrative of each place. Taken together, the stories show that American exceptionalism is a lie, but the concept of ''the South'' is real—and unique. —Christina H., Audible Editor