Magnolias without Moonlight: The American South from Regional Confederacy to National Integration

2005
Transaction Publishers

The eleven ex-Confederate states continue to be thoroughly American and at the same time an exception to the national mainstream. The region's dual personality, how it came into being, and the purposes and interests it served is examined here, as well as its central role in the politics and "culture wars" flowing from the transformative Civil Rights Movement and the other social justice movements of the 1950s and 1960s.  

The essays on this theme include a penetrating explication of C. Vann Woodward's masterpiece, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913, which is explicitly informed by the scholarship of the fifty years since the book's original publication. Hackney explores the political transformation of the South and the "identity politics" that continue to structure national political competition. The bi-racial nature of Southern society lies at the heart of Southern identity in all of its varieties. Understanding that identity is a purpose that underlies all of the chapters. Hackney uses quantitative analysis of hom-icide data to establish beyond doubt for the first time that the South has long been more violent, and that there is a cultural component of that violence that exists beyond the usual social predictors of higher homicide rates in the United States. He muses over the failure of the usual social predictors of votes for the Democratic Party to predict the party's performance in the region.

Timely, elegantly written, and wide in intellectual scope, Magnolias without Moonlight will be of interest to a broad readership of historians, cultural studies specialists, political scientists, and sociologists.