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The U.S. South and Europe: Transatlantic Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

edited by Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg

Availablecloth$70.00x 978-0-8131-4308-8
New Directions in Southern History
316 pages  Pubdate: 11/28/2013  6 x 9  

The U.S. South is a distinctive political and cultural force—not only in the eyes of Americans, but also in the estimation of many Europeans. The region played a distinctive role as a major agricultural center and the source of much of the wealth in early America, but it has also served as a catalyst for the nation’s only civil war, and later, as a battleground in violent civil rights conflicts. Once considered isolated and benighted by the international community, the South has recently evoked considerable interest among popular audiences and academic observers on both sides of the Atlantic.

In The U.S. South and Europe, editors Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg have assembled contributions that interpret a number of political, cultural, and religious aspects of the transatlantic relationship during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The contributors discuss a variety of subjects, including European colonization, travel accounts of southerners visiting Europe, and the experiences of German immigrants who settled in the South. The collection also examines slavery, foreign recognition of the Confederacy as a sovereign government, the lynching of African Americans and Italian immigrants, and transatlantic religious fundamentalism. Finally, it addresses international perceptions of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement as a framework for understanding race relations in the United Kingdom after World War II. Featuring contributions from leading scholars based in the United States and Europe, this illuminating volume explores the South from an international perspective and offers a new context from which to consider the region’s history.

Cornelis A. van Minnen is director of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and professor of American history at Ghent University, Belgium. He is the author of Van Loon: Popular Historian, Journalist, and FDR Confidant and coeditor of Political Repression in U.S. History.

Manfred Berg is the Curt Engelhorn Chair in American history of the Center for American Studies at Heidelberg University in Germany. He is the author of Popular Justice: A History of Lynching in America and “The Ticket to Freedom”: The NAACP and the Struggle for Black Political Integration.

"An admirable volume that probes curiously and often surprisingly into the relationship, real and imagined, between Europe and the South. The volume should prove of value to scholars and lay readers from widely differing backgrounds." -- Martin Crawford, Emeritus Professor of Anglo-American History, Keele University

"Americans who care about their country's history will find this book an eye-opener. Two outstanding European scholars have skillfully put together an inviting array of explorations--a number of them brilliantly conceived--that create a radiant prism. By scrutinizing U.S. events from a European perspective, they offer readers a rare opportunity to rethink the American past." -- William E Leuchtenburg, William Rand Kenan Professor of history, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"The U.S. South and Europe is an unusually timely book because it illuminates the Global South, a major new scholarly initiative in the study of the South. The breadth of coverage is striking and makes the volume useful in introducing a wide audience to the international context of the South. That context has always been operating, but the editors bring its dynamics into full light as never before. New perspectives abound as readers meet southern travelers abroad, read about the relationship between the American civil rights movement and race relations overseas, and explore the transatlantic framework for fundamentalism. The volume makes significant contributions to understanding such key themes in southern history as race relations, religion, the Civil War, and violence." -- Charles R. Wilson, Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Chair in History and Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi

Van Minnen and Berg have edited a fine collection of essays that cover various interactions between the southern US and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries....The quality of the essays in anthologies is often uneven. However, all of these essays are crisply written, well-argued, supported through primary research, and cognizant of extant historiography. -- Choice