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The Irony of the Solid South, The Irony of the Solid South, 0817317937, 0-8173-1793-7, 978-0-8173-1793-5, 9780817317935, , , The Irony of the Solid South, 081738670X, 0-8173-8670-X, 978-0-8173-8670-2, 9780817386702,

The Irony of the Solid South
Democrats, Republicans, and Race, 1865-1944
by Glenn Feldman

Trade Cloth
2013. 480 pp.
978-0-8173-1793-5
Price:  $49.95 s
E Book
480 pp.
0
978-0-8173-8670-2
Price:  $49.95 d

The Irony of the Solid South examines how the south became the “Solid South” for the Democratic Party and how that solidarity began to crack with the advent of American involvement in World War II.
 
Relying on a sophisticated analysis of secondary research—as well as a wealth of deep research in primary sources such as letters, diaries, interviews, court cases, newspapers, and other archival materials—Glenn Feldman argues in The Irony of the Solid South that the history of the solid Democratic south is actually marked by several ironies that involve a concern with the fundamental nature of southern society and culture and the central place that race and allied types of cultural conservatism have played in ensuring regional distinctiveness and continuity across time and various partisan labels. Along the way, this account has much to say about the quality and nature of the New Deal in Dixie, southern liberalism, and its fatal shortcomings.
 
Feldman focuses primarily on Alabama and race but also considers at length circumstances in the other southern states as well as insights into the uses of emotional issues other than race that have been used time and again to distract whites from their economic and material interests. Feldman explains how conservative political forces (Bourbon Democrats, Dixiecrats, Wallace, independents, and eventually the modern GOP) ingeniously fused white supremacy with economic conservatism based on the common glue of animus to the federal government. A second great melding is exposed, one that joined economic fundamentalism to the religious kind along the shared axis of antidemocratic impulses.
 
Feldman’s study has much to say about southern and American conservatism, the enduring power of cultural and emotional issues, and the modern south’s path to becoming solidly Republican.


Glenn Feldman is a professor in the college of arts and sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949.


"Feldman provides a real service, especially to readers outside of the academy, with his unsparing approach to the ugliness and violence that steadily supported white southerners' politics and peer pressure. Too often this side of southern history is still seen as unfortunate or, worse, misunderstood, and too often it remains conveniently frozen in black-and-white pictures of law officials using water hoses and police dogs against civil rights activists. As Feldman demonstrates repeatedly, the social and economic pressure, as well as the violence, was relentless, largely unapologetic, and, for a long time, successful in its aims." —The American Historical Review

“This is history with a strong point of view and one that runs counter to more recent trends in the historiography of race and politics. It reflects deep research and a well-wrought argument for the primacy of race that is a powerful challenge to that new historiography that runs the danger of becoming as ‘orthodox’ as earlier arguments for the primacy of race in twentieth-century politics. It is an impressive marshaling of powerful evidence for an argument that will challenge much of the current historical literature.”—Dan T. Carter, author of Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South


“This is a first-rate, original piece of scholarship based on a thorough command of the secondary literature, and on a very extensive exploration of primary sources that Feldman tracked down in numerous and widespread locations.”—Sheldon Hackney, author of Populism to Progressivism in Alabama

Also of Interest

After Wallace
by Patrick R. Cotter, James Glen Stovall


Southern Parties and Elections
Edited by Robert P. Steed, Laurence W. Moreland, Tod A. Baker


Two-Party Politics in the One-Party South
by Samuel L. Webb, Jr.


Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1
by Glenn Feldman