Alabama Getaway
The Political Imaginary and the Heart of Dixie

Allen Tullos

What makes Alabama the "Heart of Dixie"?


"A compelling view of Alabama’s challenges, and possibly a blueprint for meeting them. Informed readers of politics and Southern culture will be engrossed, and some likely infuriated."
ForeWord Reviews

"American studies at its best, a penetrating reflection on why this former seat of the Confederacy exists in the national imaginary as both a political, economic, and cultural backwater and a site where the Goliath of Jim Crow was slain by humble descendants of slaves. Alabama Getaway is a rich and surprising journey to which you’ll want to return."
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

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In Alabama Getaway Allen Tullos explores the recent history of one of the nation’s most conservative states to reveal its political imaginary—the public shape of power, popular imagery, and individual opportunity.

From Alabama’s largely ineffectual politicians to its miserly support of education, health care, cultural institutions, and social services, Tullos examines why the state appears to be stuck in repetitive loops of uneven development and debilitating habits of judgment. The state remains tied to fundamentalisms of religion, race, gender, winner-take-all economics, and militarism enforced by punitive and defensive responses to criticism. Tullos traces the spectral legacy of George Wallace, ponders the roots of anti-egalitarian political institutions and tax structures, and challenges Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice’s use of the civil rights struggle to justify the war in Iraq. He also gives due coverage to the state’s black citizens who with a minority of whites have sustained a movement for social justice and democratic inclusion. As Alabama competes for cultural tourism and global industries like auto manufacturing and biomedical research, Alabama Getaway asks if the coming years will see a transformation of the “Heart of Dixie.”

Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South

Page count: 376 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


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A native of Alabama, Allen Tullos teaches American studies at Emory University. He is the author of Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont and editor of Long Journey Home: Folklife in the South. Tullos is a cofounder and senior editor of the Internet journal Southern Spaces and has worked on numerous documentary films.