Synopses & Reviews
"As if Kevin Phillips's American Theocracy
were being narrated by Rolling Stone
's Matt Taibbi," Chuck Thompson's "viciously funny and thoroughly tasteless" examination of Southern secession was one of the most controversial books of the year (Washington Monthly
Secession is not exactly a 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?
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. The result is a heavily researched, serious inquiry into national divides that is unabashedly controversial, often uproarious, and always thought provoking. What would our new nations look like if Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was elected as the first President of the Confederate States of America? 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 that won equal parts friends and enemies upon its hardcover publication. Says Eric Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss, “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.”
"Often thoughtful, always irreverent...a raucous road trip through the South with a funny, informed, sardonic and opinionated Yankee." Kirkus Reviews
"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
“Hilariously over-the-top...Thompson's mix of vitriol, bewilderment, humor, and research holds the seemingly disparate elements together and makes for an entertaining, if absurdly hyperbolic, read....Thought-provoking.” Publishers Weekly
Chuck Thompson — dubbed "savagely funny" by the New York Times and "wickedly entertaining" by the San Francisco Chronicle — spent two years traveling the American South to determine whether, as he'd long suspected but not yet proven, the whole country might be better off letting Dixieland make good on its two-hundred-years-old threat to secede. The result is a long overdue and serious inquiry into national divides that is deliberately provocative and uproariously funny while making a compelling case for "a kind of no-fault divorce for nation-states: no hard feelings, just two adults who can't quite make the relationship work, shaking hands and walking away" (The Oxford American).
About the Author
Chuck Thompson is the author of the comic travel memoirs Smile When You’re Lying and To Hellholes and Back and is currently the editorial director of CNN Travel. His writing and photography have appeared in numerous publications, including Outside, Men’s Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Maxim, and the Los Angeles Times.