The South, the Nation, and the World: Perspectives on Southern Economic Development, by David L. Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis (review)

The South, the Nation, and the World, by David L. Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis (University of Virginia Press, 2003)

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The South, the Nation, and the World: Perspectives on Southern Economic Development, by David L. Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis (review)

by Gavin Wright
Southern Cultures, Vol. 10, No. 3: Fall 2004

University of Virginia Press, 2003

“Economics? That was my worst subject.” How often those of us in the field have heard this lament. Or is it a reprimand? “Worst subject” probably means the speaker did not do well in the course, but it also often implies that they didn’t much like economics anyway. Too dry, too unsentimental, too short on appreciation for the finer things in life (that is, culture). People who feel this way often drift into the study of history as an alternative. Which means that scholars who set out to write economic history start with one strike against them; two, if, like David Carlton and Peter Coclanis, they openly reject cultural interpretations of the American South.