Class and Culture

That potent myth of the Old South celebrated the lives of the planter aristocracy, but the planter aristocrats were always a tiny minority of the white South. Large parts of the South - Appalachia, the Ozarks, the Piney Woods, the Wiregrass - all lay outside the plantation South and gave rise to their own vibrant sub-cultures. These regions were poor, and that grinding poverty and isolation made their lives very different from that of many southerners. Harry Crews' brutal memoir takes us to the Wiregrass region of south Georgia in the midst of the Great Depression where the most vital link to the outside world was the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. Dennis Covington explores how the snake-handling religion of the mountain folk of Appalachia helped sustain them as they moved to urban areas and confronted the New South.