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The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  138 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
"Cotton obsessed, Negro obsessed," Rupert Vance called it in 1935. "Nowhere but in the Mississippi Delta," he said, "are antebellum conditions so nearly preserved." This crescent of bottomlands between Memphis and Vicksburg, lined by the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, remains in some ways what it was in 1860: a land of rich soil, wealthy planters, and desperate poverty--the ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 29th 1992)
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May 29, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
This book chronicles the most shameful behavior that humans are capable of, in our race for comfort, power, prestige and privilege. All on the backs and broken bodies of others, those with the least, those who continue to come up on the short end of the stick.
Dec 30, 2012 Graham rated it liked it
If you are looking for the most in depth analysis of the Mississippi Delta region, with topics ranging from the proper soil for cotton farming to the rise of the blues to the internal politics of plantations, this is the book for you. But be warned, it is NOT a "popular history" book, and reads like a dissertation (which I believe it was).

Just to be clear though, this book provides a tremendous amount of detail. Ever wanted to know the average wage of a sharecropper before the flood of 1927 in Y
James Blatter
Jan 24, 2011 James Blatter rated it really liked it
I think this should be required reading for college civics as much as sociology or ethnography, a very good look at how some identies are formed and shortly taske over a culture and define how others look at that culture
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
Feb 08, 2014 JoséMaría BlancoWhite rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-society
A social history of epic and literary proportions.

It's a very readable book with lots of information about The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta all the way from Reconstruction to our modern Welfare times. The intervention of the Federal government to allegedly improve the status of blacks, whether it was at the wake of the War or by means of the New Deal, and up to the latest impulses of liberal Big Government, has never done any good: only shifted the paternalistic role from the white man to the welfare
Aug 22, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it
This interesting history focuses on the Mississippi Delta, an area of fertile land and wealthy cotton plantations surrounded by rural poverty. This is one of those books that makes me wish Goodreads would allow half stars, because I'd like to give it three and a half stars. The beginning, which is a history of the settlement of the Delta in the 1820s - 1840s, the antebellum boom years, the Civil War and Reconstruction, is excellent. Most histories of the south that focus on this period mostly co ...more
Debbie Howell
Mar 15, 2010 Debbie Howell rated it really liked it
Very comprehensive history of the Mississippi Delta. Interesting to read about the early days--who settled there and why, and just how hard it was to "tame" the land for farming. Excellent research, well-documented in unobtrusive footnotes. One area the author did a nice job on was describing the socioeconomic impact of Federal programs on the Delta from the Depression onward. Good "micro" perspective on the Civil Rights movement within the Delta, without rehashing a lot of familiar information ...more
Alana Cash
Jan 12, 2017 Alana Cash rated it it was amazing
This is not a quick read - it's written by an academic and has that style. However, it's immensely interesting. It focuses on the Mississippi Delta region of the State of Mississippi (mainly) and the time-frame of post-Civil Reconstruction to 1960s. If you want to understand the effect of Emancipation had on the South, this is the book to read. I am so much more aware of the experiences of African Americans and the molding of racial relations and tension in this country. There was terrible injus ...more
Dec 15, 2011 Allan rated it really liked it
Shelves: deep-south
Considering that the topics are so much dreary economics and the long history of abominable injustice, Cobb's book is engrossing and highly informative. The development of culture in the Delta is surveyed from antebellum times through the Civil War, Reconstruction and the first half of the 20th century (which in this locale can barely be distinguished from each other) through the civil rights movement.

Deven Black
May 04, 2013 Deven Black rated it really liked it
This is a detailed history of Mississippi's Yazoo delta starting before human settlers arrived and continuing forward to the 1970s. It is a rich history full of ego, intrigue, slavery, bravery, brutality, and music. Cobb conveys some of the flavors of the various periods in this history, but he does get bogged down in excessive detail from time to time.
Zeb Larson
Apr 30, 2014 Zeb Larson rated it really liked it
A nice book to acquaint yourself with the history of the region. The book shines in discussing the Planter class and the African-Americans, as well as the relationship between the Delta and the Piedmont.
Amy Merkley
Jul 02, 2015 Amy Merkley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only the most southern... The most fascinating, the most magical, the most miserable, the most depressing...
Amy Merkley
Jul 02, 2015 Amy Merkley rated it really liked it
A must read. But don't read it in the winter. It's depressing enough. Definitely a book of mosts, good and gawd awful.
Jul 19, 2009 zoë rated it liked it
picked up in oxford, ms as we drove through the delta
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