By: Jack Temple Kirby
384 pages, 29 illus, 5 maps, notes, index
The American South is generally warmer, wetter, weedier, snakier, and more insect infested and disease prone than other regions of the country. It is alluring to the scientifically and poetically minded alike. With Mockingbird Song, Jack Temple Kirby offers a personal and passionate recounting of the centuries-old human-nature relationship in the South. Exhibiting violent cycles of growth, abandonment, dereliction, resettlement, and reconfiguration, this relationship, Kirby suggests, has the sometimes melodious, sometimes cacophonous vocalizations of the region's emblematic avian, the mockingbird.
In a narrative voice marked by the intimacy and enthusiasm of a storyteller, Kirby explores all of the South's peoples and their landscapes--how humans have used, yielded, or manipulated varying environments and how they have treated forests, water, and animals. Citing history, literature, and cinematic portrayals along the way, Kirby also relates how southerners have thought about their part of Earth--as a source of both sustenance and delight.
A long century after the Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles walked, rode, or sailed westward to the Territory, about seventy brutal years after the white Mississippi kingdom of slavery fell in fire, and at the very moment its successor, a reorganized cotton empire of mules and sharecroppers, was disintegrating, Vernon Presley built a modest house in East Tupelo. - from Chapter 1
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