The New Mind of the South

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There are those who say the South has disappeared. But in her groundbreaking, thought-provoking exploration of the region, Tracy Thompson, a Georgia native and Pulitzer Prize finalist, asserts that it has merely drawn on its oldest tradition: an ability to adapt and transform itself.

Thompson spent years traveling through the region and discovered a South both amazingly similar and radically different from the land she knew as a child. African Americans who left en masse for much of the twentieth century are returning in huge numbers, drawn back by a mix of ambition, family ties, and cultural memory. Though Southerners remain more churchgoing than other Americans, the evangelical Protestantism that defined Southern culture up through the 1960s has been torn by bitter ideological schisms. The new South is ahead of others in absorbing waves of Latino immigrants, in rediscovering its agrarian traditions, in seeking racial reconciliation, and in reinventing what it means to have roots in an increasingly rootless global culture.

Drawing on mountains of data, interviews, and a whole new set of historic archives, Thompson upends stereotypes and fallacies to reveal the true heart of the South today—a region still misunderstood by outsiders and even by its own people. In that sense, she is honoring the tradition inaugurated by Wilbur Joseph Cash in 1941 in his classic, The Mind of the South. Cash’s book was considered the virtual bible on the origins of Southern identity and its transformation through time. Thompson has written its sequel for the twenty-first century.
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About the author

Tracy Thompson is a reporter and essayist who has written about subjects ranging from psychiatry to law to the Civil War. She is the author of The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression and The Ghost in the House. She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband, their two daughters, one tabby cat, and an enthusiastic beagle named Max.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Mar 5, 2013
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781439160138
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Social History
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Demography
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Ms. Thompson takes a clear-eyed look at work as well as love, intertwining the success story of her journalistic career (she eventually becomes a reporter on The Washington Post) with her record of numb despair, suicide attempts and hospitalizations."—THE NEW YORK TIMES

It hides in plain sight—in the colleague who drinks too much, in the friend who keeps canceling nights out, in the teenager who won't leave his room. It is frequently found running in tandem with other life-threatening diseases. It is in our colleagues, in our friends, in our families. 

Depression has afflicted Tracy Thompson most of her life. To the outsider looking in, she was a happy person with a rewarding career, a beautiful family, and a large circle of friends. But lurking beneath the veil of contentment was a dark, inexplicable, and all-consuming despair that she would later dub "The Beast."

In this unflinching chronicle of her continuing battle against "The Beast," Tracy Thompson writes with ceaseless candor on her struggles, on the internal war that pursued her from youth to adulthood, undermining relationships, complicating her career, and threatening her family. Thompson recounts this most personal and vital battle to reclaim her life before depression could take it from her. A seminal work on depression at publication, THE BEAST remains an essential read to the millions of Americans enduring depression, in either their loved ones or themselves. It offers an insightful perspective on the disease, and a glimmer of hope.  

"Absorbing...powerful...It's a frightening tale that will strike a nerve in anyone whose life has been touched by the agony of mental illness."—PEOPLE MAGAZINE

"In that resilient genre, the autobiography of melancholy, we hope for courage, honesty and the texture of the particular. Tracy Thompson supplies all in generous measure." —Peter Kramer, author of LISTENING TO PROZAC
An award-winning reporter for the Washington Post, Tracy Thompson was thirty-four when she was hospitalized and put on suicide watch during a major depressive episode. This event, the culmination of more than twenty years of silent suffering, became the point of departure for an in-depth, groundbreaking book on depression and her struggle with the disease. The Beast shattered stereotypes and inspired countless readers to confront their own battles with mental illness. Having written that book, and having found the security of a happy marriage, Thompson assumed that she had learned to manage her illness. But when she took on one of the most emotionally demanding jobs of all—being a mother—depression returned with fresh vengeance.

Very quickly Thompson realized that virtually everything she had learned up to then about dealing with depression was now either inadequate or useless. In fact, maternal depression was a different beast altogether. She tackled her problem head-on, meticulously investigating the latest scientific research and collecting the stories of nearly 400 mothers with depression. What she found was startling: a problem more widespread than she or any other mother struggling alone with this affliction could have imagined. Women make up nearly 12 million of the 19 million Americans affected by depression every year, experiencing episodes at nearly twice the rate that men do. Women suffer most frequently between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four—not coincidentally, the primary childbearing years.

The Ghost in the House, the result of Thompson's extensive studies, is the first book to address maternal depression as a lifelong illness that can have profound ramifications for mother and child. A striking blend of memoir and journalism, here is an invaluable resource for the millions of women who are white-knuckling their way through what should be the most satisfying years of their lives. Thompson offers her readers a concise summary of the cutting-edge research in this field, deftly written prose, and, above all, hope.

The Associated Press calls them "The Entitlement Generation," and they are storming into schools, colleges, and businesses all over the country. They are today's young people, a new generation with sky-high expectations and a need for constant praise and fulfillment. In this provocative new book, headline-making psychologist and social commentator Dr. Jean Twenge documents the self-focus of what she calls "Generation Me" -- people born in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Herself a member of Generation Me, Dr. Twenge explores why her generation is tolerant, confident, open-minded, and ambitious but also cynical, depressed, lonely, and anxious.

Using findings from the largest intergenerational study ever conducted -- with data from 1.3 million respondents spanning six decades -- Dr. Twenge reveals how profoundly different today's young adults are -- and makes controversial predictions about what the future holds for them and society as a whole. But Dr. Twenge doesn't just talk statistics -- she highlights real-life people and stories and vividly brings to life the hopes and dreams, disappointments and challenges of Generation Me.With a good deal of irony, humor, and sympathy she demonstrates that today's young people have been raised to aim for the stars at a time when it is more difficult than ever to get into college, find a good job, and afford a house -- even with two incomes. GenMe's expectations have been raised just as the world is becoming more competitive, creating an enormous clash between expectations and reality. Dr. Twenge also presents the often-shocking truths about her generation's dramatically different sexual behavior and mores.

GenMe has created a profound shift in the American character, changing what it means to be an individual in today's society. Engaging, controversial, prescriptive, and often funny, Generation Me will give Boomers new insight into their offspring, and help GenMe'ers in their teens, 20s, and 30s finally make sense of themselves and their goals and find their road to happiness.
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