In this blend of memoir, history and travel diary, Princeton University Professor Imani Perry narrates a trip back to her native home below the Mason Dixon line. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives and surprising encounters with places and people through which Perry unfolds a narrative about the South and its centrality to American identity.
The South has been stereotyped and corralled, its vibrant complexity and profound influence due for renewed and rigorous attention. Perry...accomplishes exactly that in this saturated, gorgeously written, and keenly revelatory travelogue ... By sharing her own family history, including her parents’ activism, she emphasizes the essential role of southerners in the Black Power movement. Perry’s southern tour is intimate and encompassing, finely laced and steely, affecting and transformative.
Perry...interweaves personal and regional history in this impressionistic study of the American South. Adding depth and nuance to standard portrayals of 'lost cause' narratives of white supremacy...Perry’s meditations range far and wide, alluding to literary theorists, basketball stars, Supreme Court rulings, and her own ancestors with equal familiarity and insight, though the breadth often comes at the expense of depth, particularly when she is relating historical events, such as abolitionist John Brown’s 1859 raid on the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry. Still, this is a rich and imaginative tour of a crucial piece of America.
... an intimate, penetrating journey through the South ... she engagingly chronicles her visits to communities that embody the term 'broken oasis,' efforts of Black Americans to embrace the nation’s politics and culture while remaining independent ... A graceful, finely crafted examination of America’s racial, cultural, and political identity. Perry always delivers.