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Better Off without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession

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Better Off without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession Cover

ISBN13: 9781451616651
ISBN10: 1451616651
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Lets talk about secession.

Not exactly the most suitable cocktail party conversation starter anywhere in the country, but take that notion deep into the heart of Dixie and you might find yourself running from the possum-hunting conservatives, trailer-park lifers, and prayer warriors Chuck Thompson encountered during the two years he spent traveling the American South asking the question: Would we be better off without em?

The result is a heavily researched, serious inquiry into national divides which is unabashedly controversial, often uproarious, and always thought-provoking. From a church service in Mobile, Alabama, where the gospel entertainer announces "Islam is upon us!" to a store selling Ku Klux Klan memorabilia on a quaint little street in South Carolina — Thompson lifts the green velvet drapes on a South that would seem to belong more to the time of Rhett and Scarlett than the dawn of the twenty-first century.

By crunching numbers, interviewing experts, and roaming the not-so-former Confederacy, Thompson — an openly disgruntled liberal from the Northwest — makes a compelling case for southern secession. What would the new nations look like if Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was elected as the first President of the Confederate States of America? If a southern electorate was left to fend for itself while the North did damage control on an auto industry decimated by cut-rate, union-defying southern voters for the last hundred years? If the BCS championship football game were replaced by a North vs. South Coca Cola/ Starbucks Blood Bowl™? If Florida went to the South and Texas to the North in the most complex land-and-population grab in American history?

Better Off without Em is a deliberately provocative book whose insight, humor, fierce and fearless politics, and sheer nerve will spark a national debate that is perhaps long overdue.

Review:

"Acerbic travel writer Thompson (Smile When You're Lying) turns his withering gaze southward in this lengthy argument for Southern secession. Employing a litany of quotes, studies, and interviews (often with folks that must surely be the most reprehensible specimens he could dig up, including proud Klansmen) to bolster this hilariously over-the-top 'apoplexy of northern martyrdom,' Thompson argues that the South's deep-rooted ties to evangelical Christianity, allegiance to socially conservative politics, and failure to look toward the long-term has had a detrimental effect on the region, as well as on the nation as a whole, resulting in a surfeit of exploited American workers living paycheck to paycheck, terrible public schools, and latent racism operating under the guise of the Religious Right. It may sound like a hodgepodge of allegations, but Thompson's mix of vitriol, bewilderment, humor, and research holds the seemingly disparate elements together and makes for an entertaining, if absurdly hyperbolic, read. Fans of Thompson's previous work (those familiar with his screed against school teachers in Smile will find some tonal similarity in his chapter on college football) will get the most out of the book, but even proud Southerners will likely be find a few thought-provoking problems to chew on. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Often thoughtful, always irreverent...a raucous road trip through the South with a funny, informed, sardonic and opinionated Yankee." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Thank you for the copy of Better Off without 'Em, but I'm afraid it's New York and San Francisco that I think should secede." P.J. O’Rourke

Review:

"Fry yourself some grits, unfurl that Confederate flag, and read this gem of a book. Chuck Thompson doesn't have a politically correct bone in his Yankee body. He skewers the South mercilessly, and hilariously. And backs up his barbs with facts. Lots of facts. Better Off without 'Em is sure to set hearts racing, on both sides of the Mason Dixon line." Eric Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss

Synopsis:

Dubbed "savagely funny" (The New York Times) and "wickedly entertaining" (San Francisco Chronicle), acclaimed travel writer Chuck Thompson embarks on a controversial road trip to prove that both sides might be better off if the South were to secede once and for all.

"He's a travel writer like Anthony Bourdain is a food writer," writes The Oregonian about Chuck Thompson. In Better Off without 'Em, the biggest book of his career, Thompson offers a heavily researched, serious inquiry into national divides that is unabashedly controversial, often uproarious, and always thought-provoking.

By crunching numbers, interviewing experts, and traveling the not-so-former Confederacy, Thompson — an openly disgruntled liberal Northwesterner — makes a compelling case for Southern secession. Along the way, he interacts with possum-hunting conservatives, trailer park lifers, prayer warriors, and other regional trendsetters, showing that the South's perverse church-driven morality, politics, and personality never have and never will define the region as a fully committed part of the United States. Better Off without 'Em is a deliberately provocative book whose insight, humor, fierce and fearless politics, and sheer nerve will spark a national debate that is perhaps long overdue.

About the Author

Chuck Thompson is the author of several books, including the comic travel memoirs Smile When You're Lying and To Hellholes and Back. His writing and photography have appeared in numerous publications, including Outside, Men's Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, and Maxim.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Coachwkr, August 21, 2012 (view all comments by Coachwkr)
F' the Left and the entire north. We don't want to be anywhere near you liberals. I have thought so for decades. What you did to this country, beginning with the 1960s, is disastrous. the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the beginning of the end because that law was merely thought control and income redistribution in ambiguous language. The CRA of 1964 has nearly broke us (welfare payments-1 Trillion since 1965), divided us (affirmative action plus its costs), made us less free (speech codes on college campuses, private businesses being dictated to by Government), and it created the entire racism industry with its race pimps, race cards, resentment politics, class war politics, and the entire bogus homosexual rights movement. The Left and its communist economic policies will bankrupt this country like it has PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). Their "safety net" is nothing more cradle to grave support for "certain" people to get these people to vote for the Left forever. LBJ was right: "I will have these ni--ers voting Democrat for a hundred years." More like two hundred. This carpetbagger and his opinions in this book can kiss my rear-end. Every southerner I know feels the same way. Leave us the hell alone, and we will do likewise.
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VVV, August 13, 2012 (view all comments by VVV)
The ignorance of realworld economics and the hyprocrisy of liberals never cease to amaze me as evidenced by the comments posted thus far. This isn't an issue of north and south. It's an issue of capitalism and individual liberty vs state controlled socialism. If you want to understand what would happen with secession, read Atlas Shrugged or simply take a tour through Detroit, the poster city for liberal economic and social policies.
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(13 of 63 readers found this comment helpful)
stat1951, August 13, 2012 (view all comments by stat1951)
Review based upon pre-release interviews and specific interview by AlterNet...

Very excellent commentary - based upon much personal research and scientific research - about a topic that is one that no one wants to look at squarely, but is a topic that very easily COULD happen! And, I - like the author - believe that this is a "divorce" that would be best for both parties.

This follows along a concept that was also addressed in the book " Civil War II - The Coming Breakup of America" by Thomas Chittum (but VERY hard to get one's hands on now, other than through a library).

I would like to see the author follow through with this concept with a much more involved "what if".

Why stop at the cultural difference between the North and South?

What about similar (cultural / theological) differences between the Midwest (see below) and the Northeast?

What about ethnic differences as areas have current minorities become majorities?

In my opinion....

Between 2030 and 2050, you are going to see Hispanic / Latino populations (LEGAL populations) become the majority in:

Texas
New Mexico
Arizona
California (Very especially Southern California, where they will be a huge majority)
Nevada

And I look to see them take over all the State Offices in those states and then unite as a bloc and also look at seceding from what is left of the United States.

Research the topic - especially of independence movements amongst Hispaanics in the Southwest.

What happens after that?

Northern California, Oregon and Washington secede and petition to join Canada as either a separate Province - or part of British Columbia?

The MidWest? Indiana/Illinois to Utah/Colorado (east to west) and Oklahoma to North Dakota/Montana/Idaho (south to north)... what about them? They aren't a truly good fit with the South/Deep South... but even less of a good fit with the Hispanic Southwest and liberal Northeast... so do they end up also forming a separate bloc and seceding?

And then you have the Upper and Lower Great lakes region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (not really counting Pennsylvania or New York). Do they too form a bloc and secede - or split into factions and join one of the other "new nations"?

And finally then, the Northeast (Pennsylvania/Maryland north to Maine), the Liberal Nation?

Obviously that leaves a situation where there is no longer a "United States".

And the thing is that it could readily happen over the next 30 - 50 years....

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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451616651
Author:
Thompson, Chuck
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Travel-US Southern States
Subject:
Politics-Political Science
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in

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Better Off without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451616651 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Acerbic travel writer Thompson (Smile When You're Lying) turns his withering gaze southward in this lengthy argument for Southern secession. Employing a litany of quotes, studies, and interviews (often with folks that must surely be the most reprehensible specimens he could dig up, including proud Klansmen) to bolster this hilariously over-the-top 'apoplexy of northern martyrdom,' Thompson argues that the South's deep-rooted ties to evangelical Christianity, allegiance to socially conservative politics, and failure to look toward the long-term has had a detrimental effect on the region, as well as on the nation as a whole, resulting in a surfeit of exploited American workers living paycheck to paycheck, terrible public schools, and latent racism operating under the guise of the Religious Right. It may sound like a hodgepodge of allegations, but Thompson's mix of vitriol, bewilderment, humor, and research holds the seemingly disparate elements together and makes for an entertaining, if absurdly hyperbolic, read. Fans of Thompson's previous work (those familiar with his screed against school teachers in Smile will find some tonal similarity in his chapter on college football) will get the most out of the book, but even proud Southerners will likely be find a few thought-provoking problems to chew on. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Often thoughtful, always irreverent...a raucous road trip through the South with a funny, informed, sardonic and opinionated Yankee."
"Review" by , "Thank you for the copy of Better Off without 'Em, but I'm afraid it's New York and San Francisco that I think should secede."
"Review" by , "Fry yourself some grits, unfurl that Confederate flag, and read this gem of a book. Chuck Thompson doesn't have a politically correct bone in his Yankee body. He skewers the South mercilessly, and hilariously. And backs up his barbs with facts. Lots of facts. Better Off without 'Em is sure to set hearts racing, on both sides of the Mason Dixon line."
"Synopsis" by , Dubbed "savagely funny" (The New York Times) and "wickedly entertaining" (San Francisco Chronicle), acclaimed travel writer Chuck Thompson embarks on a controversial road trip to prove that both sides might be better off if the South were to secede once and for all.

"He's a travel writer like Anthony Bourdain is a food writer," writes The Oregonian about Chuck Thompson. In Better Off without 'Em, the biggest book of his career, Thompson offers a heavily researched, serious inquiry into national divides that is unabashedly controversial, often uproarious, and always thought-provoking.

By crunching numbers, interviewing experts, and traveling the not-so-former Confederacy, Thompson — an openly disgruntled liberal Northwesterner — makes a compelling case for Southern secession. Along the way, he interacts with possum-hunting conservatives, trailer park lifers, prayer warriors, and other regional trendsetters, showing that the South's perverse church-driven morality, politics, and personality never have and never will define the region as a fully committed part of the United States. Better Off without 'Em is a deliberately provocative book whose insight, humor, fierce and fearless politics, and sheer nerve will spark a national debate that is perhaps long overdue.

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