Book Fridays: A strategy for a Bluer South, climate change in the Gulf, and literary voices from New Orleans

Facing South's bi-weekly listing features new books about the U.S. South and books written by Southern writers.

Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority by Bob Moser, 274 pages, Times Books, (August 2008)

From the publisher: In 2000 and 2004, the Democratic Party decided not to challenge George W. Bush in the South, a disastrous strategy that effectively handed Bush more than half of the electoral votes he needed to win the White House. As the 2008 election draws near, the Democrats have a historic opportunity to build a new progressive majority, but they cannot do so without the South. In Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority, Bob Moser, a native and longtime resident of North Carolina and a political correspondent for The Nation, argues that the Democratic Party has been blinded by outmoded prejudices about the region. Moser reports that a volatile mix of unprecedented economic prosperity and abject poverty are reshaping the Southern vote. With evangelical churches preaching a more expansive social gospel and a massive left-leaning demographic shift to African Americans, Latinos, and the young, the South is poised for a Democratic revival. By returning to a bold, unflinching message of economic fairness, the Democrats can win in the nation's largest, most diverse region and redeem themselves as a true party of the people.

Facing South has reported on many of these very changes and the need for a new political strategy in the South. Indeed, Moser presents a powerful case for a new Southern strategy for the Democrats. The New York Times asserts that Moser achieves in convincing "Democrats that the South is a lot more complicated and interesting than they have made it out to be. It just might be a worthy object of their affection." In These Times writes that "Dixie isn't going to be solid blue anytime soon, but neither will the South be the safe base on which the Republicans have long built national victories."

"By viewing the South as hopelessly, stubbornly, unchangeably 'red,'" Moser writes, "the superior hearts and brains of non-Southern liberals can rest assured, once again, that American evils are not theirs to confront - or to overcome."

For more information, visit Times Books.


3 Years After: New Orleans & the Gulf Coast - In Their Own Words, Oxford American, Issue 62

Oxford American's most recent issue is devoted to masterful post-Katrina writing. The Times-Picayune's book editor calls the issue "an unbelievable bargain, a feast of good writing. No matter what your post-Katrina mindset, you'll find some version of it rendered here, and the end result is strangely cheering, as though reinforcements have arrived for the struggle."

From the Oxford American website:

On the third anniversary of Katrina, Gustav reminded us that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast remain vulnerable. This time around, however, we were also reminded that a lot has changed in the last three years to protect one of America's most vital regions. Still, some media pundits continue to assert that we shouldn't spend "a single dime" on continuing to rebuild-and fortify-an area that is prone to hurricanes and flooding. Sure, we could offer up statistics about how Katrina's devastating effects were not the result of a so-called "natural" disaster but were instead a culmination of profound bureaucratic ineptitude and negligence. Gustav, in fact, revealed that diligence and organization can thwart loss of life and delineated the exact weaknesses that still need to be addressed. But rather than offer an outsider's perspective on the matter, we decided to let people on the scene tell us the truth about what's going on in this complex and vibrant region. This special issue of the magazine is devoted to clearing public misconceptions about a beloved historic region that continues to feed American culture not only with its unique cuisine but also with its music and arts and politics and personalities and, of course, joie de vivre. Ninety percent of this issue is written by New Orleans and Gulf Coast locals (and/or people embedded with deep and long-term ties with the city).

For more information visit Oxford American online and to order click here.


Response of Upper Gulf Coast Estuaries to Holocene Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise, John B. Anderson and Antonio B. Rodriguez (editors), Geological Society of America Special Paper 443, 146 pages, (September 2008)

From the Geological Society of America press release: Climate change and sea-level rise in the upper U.S. Gulf Coast and across the globe are two of the greatest concerns of our time. This new Special Paper from The Geological Society of America addresses the response of upper U.S. Gulf Coast estuaries to Holocene climate change and sea-level rise in an effort to understand the current impact of global warming. According to volume editors John B. Anderson of Rice University and Antonio B. Rodriguez of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the U.S. Gulf Coast is characterized by a strong climatic gradient, making the area particularly vulnerable to climate change, as seen in both coastal erosion and wetland loss. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions suggest that the rate of sea-level rise associated with climate change could reach as high as 5-10 mm/yr by the end of this century. This study of seven Gulf Coast estuaries (Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound, Weeks Bay, Calcasieu Lake, Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay, and Corpus Christi Bay) examines past environmental response to changes in the rate of sea-level rise and climate change of similar magnitude as those predicted for this century. This volume will help ready scientists, policy makers, and others concerned about the current and future impacts of global warming to better react to its effects on some of Earth's most vulnerable environments.

Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online bookstore or by contacting GSA Sales and Service at