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Southern Ladies and Gentlemen

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  390 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Looking for guidance in understanding the ways and means of Southern culture? Look no further. Florence King's celebrated field guide to the land below the Mason-Dixon Line is now blissfully back in print, just in time for the Clinton era. The Failed Souther Lady's classic primer on Dixie manners captures such storied types as the Southern Woman (frigid, passionate, sweet, ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 15th 1993 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published June 1st 1975)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 667)
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Dec 09, 2015 Kev rated it it was amazing
Riot. So funny at times I could not read anymore. "The Self-Rejuvenating Virgin" is the only sex education any man or women needs! Listen, I was never upset at Bill Clinton's lying about Monica. Y'all just don't understand the Southern mind. It can rationalize anything. Of course it never happened. They didn't do anything in a bedroom ... after all. No gay guy can go without reading "He's a Little Bit Funny, But He's Nice." Southern rules for gay men in the south. King is rapier sharp.
1.5 stars
I hate it when non-fiction tries too much to be funny. And why is it so trashy? Eek.
Feb 26, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: real southern ladies
Recommended to Catherine by: my Mother
I'm not really sure if this paperback version is the same as the old hardbcover edition my mother gave me years ago, but if it is, I loved the old one. It takes someone raised in the south by true southern women to appreciate and relate to this book. My, what memories I have!
Feb 25, 2008 Josh rated it really liked it
A gift from a good friend. King is hilarious--a kind of cranky old Virginian Garrison Keilor, with her biting regional observations. I'm only a few pages in but find myself laughing and nodding my head at every paragraph. Admittedly, this is a nonscholarly approach that relies on anecdote, and that's why it's so enjoyable. In fact, King's thesis, one might say, is that any cold sociological approach to the quirks of southern culture is bound to fail miserably because it can't get inside the pric ...more
Janis Ian
Nov 27, 2010 Janis Ian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I am forever grateful to Beth Flood, who handed me this and "Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady" when I first moved to Nashville from LA and told me I'd learn more about my new culture and home from them than I'd learn in a hundred years by myself. These books have saved me from abject humiliation on more than one occasion, and been a light in the darkness on many others. I keep 5 copies on hand at all times, to hand out to other foreigners moving south.
Oct 26, 2007 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
fantastically un-politically correct
Sep 12, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Southerners, Southern Ladies, people who like to laugh, Scarlett O'Hara and Margaret Thatcher
I know there are good writers and funny writers and every once in a while you get someone who is a great writer who can make you laugh. Florence King is one of those people. (She's also a great Southern Lady who was Raised Right, even if she did go a little off the tracks later.)
READ THIS. It's a fascinating look at how Southerners are and why they are that way.
From Chapter 5 "You Can Tell She's Got Good Blood. She's Delicate" or: Pelvic Politics and Bad Nerves

"Gentlemen planters do not take stu
Jan 08, 2008 Stacy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacy by: Jim Whitehead
Shelves: fiction
I read this book in college at the suggestion of a creative writing professor. I loved the whit and insight of Ms King. It is most enjoyed by Southerners, but could be appreciated by all. I have gone back to certain chapters over and over when I needed a good laugh. I'll let you read for yourself and guess at what those are!
Feb 07, 2014 Vivian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-again
First read this book many years ago, and I've never forgotten it. It may be that only real Southerners will appreciate it; I laughed all the way through.

Southern Ladies & Gentlemen
Jun 05, 2007 Stephy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone with someone "Southern" in their life!
Recommended to Stephy by: Duane T. Sawyer, may he Rest In Peace.
This is the book that helped me understand my Mother, who was sometimes a Rock, other times a Dear Old Thing. I damned near fell out of my chair laughing as I recognized so many of my mother's traditional sayings and behaviors. I have since bought it for my siblings and many friends.I hope you like it as much as I do.
Jul 14, 2009 Tricia rated it did not like it
This book should have been titled Southern Ladies and Gentlemen Have Sex. I found it dated, irreverent, and trashy.
My full review can be found here.
Nov 09, 2007 Molly rated it liked it
Interesting but dated perspective on cultural habits in the south. funny from a historical perspective, and also as a debutante reading that old crap was funny. Found it in the Travel section at SF public library though ?!?!?
Dec 02, 2015 refgoddess rated it it was amazing
Years ago I read "When Sisterhood was in Flower," snorting milk all the way. I checked out her other autobiographies, and enjoyed them too: King pulls no punches and has little compassion for fools, but she revels in the craziness of her southern roots. I could imagine Randy Newman's Land of Dreams as her soundtrack.

This book had somehow escaped me, but it came across my desk, literally, at a book repair workshop. The teacher had a box of books culled from various recycle bins. I mended a smushe
May 20, 2008 Mandy added it
Hilarious. One of my favorite books about why the north & south Are Different. One of the first books bestowed upon me by my late mother-in-law, for which I will be forever grateful.
Apr 15, 2008 Kieffala rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kieffala by: I had to read it after Stet, Damnit!
Shelves: satire-politics
This book is excellent. I love Florence King's unapologetic upfront writing. A definite must-read for anyone moving to the South from ANYWHERE else, but particularly from the North.
Jul 22, 2008 M.L. rated it liked it
Funny and insightful and wicked, but not as clear and clean as some of her later writing or even as the re-written chapters from this book that made it into her anthology
Dec 16, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
More uneven than Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, but really shone in the anecdotes about her own life. The story about Mrs. Urquhart has stuck with me the most.
Mar 13, 2008 Gregory rated it it was ok
Shelves: pleasure
Somewhat amusing about the manners and mores of the South, but quite trashy due to Ms. King's obsession with sex.
Aug 02, 2008 Rae rated it liked it
Shelves: funny-stuff
A humorous look at Southern stereotypes in men and women. Racy stuff, madam.
Lori Brockelbank
Jan 24, 2014 Lori Brockelbank rated it it was amazing
A laugh out loud book. Love it :)
Andy Green
Apr 02, 2013 Andy Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback

"[Dr. Jonathan Latham of Boston] met a lovely, patrician creature who extended a gracious invitation to a dinner party. [...] His hostess, he decided, was the last of the great ladies, an untouchable yet infinitely alluring ice maiden. Three hours later, watching her sip daintily at her tenth bourbon, Latham was certain he felt a stroke coming on. She still looked beautifully aristocratic; she had yet to slur a single word, yet a startling change had come over her personality. Latham's
Jun 16, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: currently-own
If you are interested in the southern culture this is a must read. King explains every character type in the southern playbook with great attention to detail. She supports her theories with personal experiences (hilarious), clever analysis, and a good dose of history.

I would caution that this is not a beginners guide to the south, she explains a number of things using references only someone familiar with the south would understand and refers to southern inspired movies/television/books a lot.
N Klepacki
Jul 01, 2009 N Klepacki rated it it was amazing
Florence King is absolutely, hands-down, the funniest damn Southern author I've ever read. Her books are sharp, acerbic, witty and bitchy with that "Oh My GOD! Did I actually read that right? (yes you did, and now you're peeing in your pants with laughter) style that recalls the phrase, "A Pen Warmed up in Hell"

"Date I read this book?" Ha! I've read this and "Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady" (Equally bitchy/Grab Yer Depends Funny) a dozen times - each.

Bill Jackman
Aug 30, 2012 Bill Jackman rated it it was amazing
People who wish to understand the south, should read this. I grew up in Montana but still recognized every character in this. Many people who grew up in New England, the Mid West, or California have often thought a southerner would be offended by the descriptions, but I have heard exactly the same words from Women spanning a couple of generations, "Finally, a book about me!"
Nov 21, 2009 Sallie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Love this one almost as much as Florence's best "Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady."

In this one, she writes of the Southern woman:

"She is required to be frigid, passionate, sweet, bitchy, and scatterbrained – all at the same time. Her problems spring from the fact she succeeds."
Nov 13, 2008 Dana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Auzelle Epeneter
This book was hilarious--a great, very self-aware look at the South and all its quirky characters, complete with sharp, witty criticism on sex, identity, good ol' boys, brides, Yankees, and old women. A really fun read.
Amy Brennan
Jan 02, 2010 Amy Brennan rated it really liked it

If you are a Southerner, you already know this book, but read it anyway just for the fun of it. If you are a Northern transplant to the South, this should be required reading.
Absolutely hilarious book.
John Beck
Apr 16, 2010 John Beck rated it it was amazing
Though somewhat dated, this book remains an entertaining and hilariously accurate description of culture in a large part of the American South.
Lynn Shurden
May 17, 2011 Lynn Shurden rated it really liked it
Love all of this, even the second time around. I read this when it first came out and have rediscovered. How fun!
Sep 03, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
An interesting, mildly humorous look at life in the South.
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Born in Washington, D.C. in 1936 to a bookish British father and a tomboy American mother, Florence King spent her childhood living with her parents, her maternal grandmother, and her grandmother's maid.

King showed talent in French, but unable to pursue it as a major at American University, she switched to a dual major of history and English. She attended the University of Mississippi for graduat
More about Florence King...

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“One of the most startling phenomena I ever witnessed occured in the South after the Arab- israelei Six-day war. I doubt if the world has ever seen such a rapid ceasefire in anti-semetism. I heard one Southern man after another say in tones that i can only describe as gleeful: 'by dern, those Jew boys sure can fight!' One man seriously recommended that Congress pass a special act making Moshe Dayan an American citizen so that he could become Secretary of Defense. He had obviously found a new hero;'as he put it 'That one-eyed bastid would wipe out anybody offin the map whut gave us any trouble.” 1 likes
“The Southern girl is usually an unsalvageable narcissist by the time she gets to junior high school because she has grasped the charming fact that her body, especially its exclusively female parts, has the power to make strong men weak - and strong governments fall.
toppling a government was an easy thing to dream about when i was a little girl because that famous Maryland lady, the Duchess of Windsor, had actually cond it a few years earlier. She had accomplished what we were all taught to do: Cause trouble.
'isn't she wonderful.' we breathed, 'she just got everybody so upset! Wouldn't it be just the most fun to upset a whole country? She almost caused a war - she must have bumped Edward with her bust. oh, I'd just love to start a war, wouldn't you?”
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