All Over But the Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg
Pantheon Books, New York, 1997
For his memoir, Rick Bragg reveals the raw bone of dirt poverty in which he grew up. The culture of violence, abuse in every medium, and the grinding pain and humiliation of inequity – as a blow-by-blow assault the poor-white-classes in the South endure every day. Bragg’s South is not the South I grew up in; but I could sure see it from my grandmother’s back porch steps.
This book is so well written, the time, place and people so familiar, I simply couldn’t put it down. It made me ask – how do people manage to survive this life? But moreover, how do people like Rick Bragg not only survive it, but actually use this broken, unsteady foundation as a springboard to fantastic success on a global level? (Bragg won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for journalism, while reporting for the New York Times.)
This is a must read, for everyone who thinks they “get” the south. Bragg will give it to you straight up, with a bloody lip if you’re not careful.