Gather at the River: Notes From the Post Millenial South
Foreward by Louis Rubin, Jr.
More edifying, entertaining commentary from one of the most eloquent and original observers of southern letters, morals, and manners.
In Gather at the River, Hal Crowther extends the wide-angle vision of southern life presented in his highly acclaimed collection Cathedrals of Kudzu. He cuts to the heart of recent political, religious, and cultural issues but pauses to appreciate the sweet things that the South has to offer, like music, baseball, great writers, and strong women.
Some of these essays invite debate. Crowther gives a balanced perspective on the tragedy of the Branch Davidians at Waco. He describes an example of unique heroism in the Iraq war, a war fought by one class and promoted by another. And he recommends interracial procreation as a solution to racial conflict.
In other chapters, Crowther discusses the grim portrayal of the South in early film and the triumphs of southern music. His literary essays include appreciations of William Faulkner and Wendell Berry, and a biting lampoon of exhibitionist memoirs. He profiles with pride the great, cursed baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson; the curmudgeonly realist H. L. Menken; and the singer Dolly Parton, whose candid artifice inspires the author’s litmus test for southern authenticity.
In Gather at the River, Crowther combines lyrical language with wit and frankness, and the South—with all its burdens, curiosities, and promises—comes vividly into view.
Southern Literary Studies
Fred Hobson, Editor