"A rending book . . . Some of the voices seem to whisper, some to shout, and some to moan, but all are governed by Caldwell's perfect ear. Best of all, they give the impression of speaking face-to-face with the reader."
—The New Yorker
"In Search of Bisco is an odyssey of the human spirit—a quest of the psyche for oneness, in order to escape what old Dr. DuBois called 'ethnic two-ness and double-consciousness'; and what Gunnar Myrdal describes as the American Dilemma."
In 1965, more than five decades after his forced estrangement from his black boyhood friend Bisco, Erskine Caldwell set out across the South to find him. On the journey, which took him from South Carolina to Arkansas, Caldwell spoke to many people on the pretense of asking Bisco's whereabouts: a black college professor in Atlanta, Georgia; a white real estate salesman in Demopolis, Alabama; a black sharecropper in the Yazoo Basin of the Mississippi Delta; a transplanted white New England housewife in Bastrop, Louisiana; and others. Eighteen of those conversations, with Caldwell's commentary, make up this book.
Caldwell made his journey at the zenith of the civil rights movement. Bisco, whom Caldwell never found, becomes a symbol for the South's race problem, to which he sought an answer in the emotions, experiences, and attitudes of those he encountered.