Necessary South | Take on the South - Episode 17


"Without the South, is there an "America""? Since the early days of our republic, the South has been seen as "the negative" whose characteristics had to be overcome. Late in the 20th century critics say that Southern values have somehow infected the rest of the country & caused its political/social tilt to the right. New York Times reporter Peter Applebome & Historian James Cobb discuss the topic.


Jim C. Cobb, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor in the History of the American South, is widely recognized as one of the foremost scholars of Southern history and culture—and among the first to write broadly about the South in a global context. Cobb has written more than 40 articles and 12 books, mostly about the impact of changing economic conditions on the South. Two of these, “Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity” and “The Most Southern Place on Earth,” his book about the Mississippi Delta, are considered classics in the field. The latter quickly became a model for studying other regional cultures and subcultures, such as those of Appalachia and New England. Cobb has written pieces for The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesThe Wall Street Journal, the New RepublicThe Times Literary Supplement, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  His book, “The New America: The South and the Nation Since World War II,” published in 2010 by Oxford University Press..

Peter Applebome has been a reporter and editor for The New York Times since 1987. He was born in New York City and grew up in Great Neck. He graduated from Duke University in 1971 and received a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1974. After working at Texas newspapers in Corpus Christi and Dallas and at Texas Monthly magazine, he joined the New York Times as a national correspondent and then bureau chief in Houston. He moved to Atlanta as Southern Bureau chief in 1989, served in that job for five years. Since then he has covered education and culture and is now Deputy Metropolitan Editor.

He is the author of two books. "Dixie Rising: How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics and Culture.''  And "Scout's Honor: A Father's Unlikely Foray into the Woods.”


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Take on the South