November 14, 2022 7:53 AM EST

America would not be America without the South, Imani Perry argues in the New York Times best seller and National Book Award finalist South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. In a deep analysis of the region where she was born, Perry traverses Southern cities, studying their histories and uncovering individuals’ stories to show how the establishment of slavery became the status-quo. Across a broad canvas, including stops in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., Atlanta, and parts of Louisiana and Alabama, Perry triumphs in chronicling a rich, multifaceted piece of U.S. history. —Mahita Gajanan

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