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Spying on the South
Spying on the South: Travels with Frederick Law Olmsted in a Fractured Land | Tony Horwitz
8 posts | 6 read | 16 to read
Beloved best-selling author Tony Horwitz retraces Frederick Law Olmsted's epic journey across the American South in the 1850s, as he too searches for common ground in a dangerously riven nation. On the eve of the Civil War, an up-and-coming newspaper, the New York Times, sent a young travel writer to explore the South, which was alien territory to the Connecticut Yankee correspondent and to his Northern readers. Identified in the paper as "Yeoman," to protect his identity, the writer roamed eleven states and six thousand miles, jolting the nation with his dispatches about slavery and the extremism of its defenders. This extraordinary journey would also re-shape the nation's landscape, driving "Yeoman"--real name Frederick Law Olmsted--to embark on his career as America's first and foremost architect of urban parks and other public spaces. Over a century and half later, there are echoes of the pre-Civil War in the angry ferment and fracturing of our own time. Is America still one country? Tony Horwitz, like Olmsted a Yankee and roving scribe, sets forth to find out by retracing Yeoman's journey through the South. Following his route and whenever possible his mode of transport--rail, riverboats, in the saddle--Horwitz travels Appalachia, down the Ohio and Mississippi, through Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and across Texas to the Rio Grande. Venturing, as Olmsted did, far off the beaten paths, Horwitz discovers colorful traces of an old weird America, shocking vestiges of the Cotton Kingdom, and strange new mutations that have sprung from its roots. The result is a masterpiece in the tradition of Great Plains, Bad Land, and the author's own classic, Confederates in the Attic. Spying on the South is an intrepid, wise, and frequently hilarious expedition through an outsized landscape and its equally outsized state of mind. It is also a probing and poignant study of the young Olmsted, whose own life, and thinking about landscape and society, would be forever altered by his Southern odyssey.
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Hoopiefoot
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In true Southern fashion I‘m eating a tomato sandwich in a rocker on my front porch while reading a book about the South.

Tamra Oh, lovely! 2w
brit91 One of my favorite sandwiches!!😍🍅 2w
Crazeedi Yum! I cant wait for garden tomatoes! 2w
See All 7 Comments
RamsFan1963 OMG!! Tomato & mayo sandwiches are da bomb!! 2w
Lauram Tomato and butter sandwiches are my favorite! 2w
Hoopiefoot @Lauram I‘ve never tried it with butter—I‘m pretty devoted to Duke‘s mayo. 2w
JSW Tomato and mayo on white. Heaven. 2w
74 likes7 comments
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Hoopiefoot
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Saturday night porch reading.

Crazeedi I spy WVU fan!! Whoohoo!! 2w
Hoopiefoot @Crazeedi Oh yeah! 💙💛💙💛 2w
Crazeedi @Hoopiefoot 😉👍 2w
63 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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quietjenn
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Couldn't resist starting this. Not even 50 pages in and I already want to talk about it with people. And feeling sad all over again about Horowitz's death.

LeahBergen I really need to get this soon! 1mo
50 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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Well-ReadNeck
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Pickpick

An interesting look at the historical and contemporary American South. So sorry to hear of the death of the author this week as he was on tour for this book.

BookNAround I‘ve enjoyed his writing since reading Confederates in the Attic many years ago. So sad he‘s gone at only 60. 2mo
89 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Well-ReadNeck
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#TBRTuesday

Planning to finish up the month of May with these books!!!

Blaire I‘ve seen joshilyn Jackson recommended by a number of people whose taste in books is similar to mine. Is there one you recommend? (Assuming you‘ve read others). 2mo
Gnora @Blaire I'm not the OP, but I love Jackson's work. Between Georgia is my personal fave, but I tend to recommend The Girl Who Stopped Swimming for new readers. 2mo
Blaire @Gnora thank you!! I‘ll check the girl who stopped swimming out. 2mo
93 likes3 comments
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TuesdayReviews
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Pickpick

Horwitz‘s books are a mix of travelogue and history, all told with good humor. Here he retraces a journey by Frederick Olmstead thru the pre-Civil War South. It is his most political and pessimistic book, but it remains thoroughly entertaining and engaging. Full review - https://hillbillyhighways.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/nonfiction-spying-on-the-sout...

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TuesdayReviews
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Books at the family dinner table are a point of contention between me and my wife. She says they should be banned. I say they should be required.

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Kaye
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Next up ..

TuesdayReviews I‘m really excited for this one. 2mo
Kaye @TuesdayReviews Yes I‘ve had it on preorder since I first saw it. I like books like this, set in the South about the life and the people down there. 2mo
TuesdayReviews Have you read his book Confederates in the Attic? 2mo
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Kaye Yes, I liked it , how about you ? @TuesdayReviews (edited) 2mo
LeahBergen I love Tony Horwitz! 2mo
TuesdayReviews @Kaye Loved it. I really liked Blue Latitudes and A Voyage Long and Strange too. 2mo
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