Southern Exposure

By Stetson Kennedy
© 1946

Southern Exposure

Using thorough and stark statistics, Kennedy describes a South emerging from World War II, coming to grips with the racism and feudalism that had held it back for generations. He includes an all-out Who’s Who, based on his own undercover investigations, of the “hate-mongers, race-racketeers, and terrorists who swore that apartheid must go on forever.” The first paperback edition brings to a new generation of readers Kennedy’s searing profile of Dixie before the civil rights movement.

Reprinted description from 1st edition

When a snooping “DamnYankee” writes a critical book about the South after a brief visit there, that isn't news. But when a man whose grandfather for the confederacy and whose ancestors pioneered the South (two of them signed the declaration of Independence) takes up his pen to tell nothing but the truth about the best lies about region in America, this IS news. Steston Kennedy has lived all of his thirty years in the South, and for the past decade has been making an intensive study of this section. His writing about the South have appeared in magazines, movies and radio.

To get the goods on the peculiarly Southern organisms of reaction, Kennedy has joined and probed (under other names) such outfits as the Klan, Sons of Dixie, and The Commoner Party. He has not stopped there, but has gone behind closed fronts to expose the financiers of the demagogues and would be fuhrers. He gives no quarter to unreconstructed rebels; neither does he spare their Yankee collaborators.

Southern Exposure takes the South apart three ways. THe first segment is a world picture, punctuated with figures of the problems of the South and the historical roots of all its evils. The second brings to light the many Southern style fascists elements which are subverting democracy below the Mason Dixon Line. And the final section reveals that the region is rife for democracy and that total equality between the races can be achieved.

Here is an explosive book, one which blows the lid from the innermost secrets of a third of the nation. Angry though it is, it never loses its temper. And candid though it is, its faith in the Souths people and their future is unbounded.

We believe that this book contributes much to a better understanding of the South by all Americans, Yankees, Westerners and Southerners alike.