Downs uses great books to write the cultural history of society. His thesis is that the economic, social, and political behavior of a region, a nation, or even the world is shaped largely by the printed word. Concentrating on twenty-five publications from John Smith's General History of Virginia
(1624) to C, Vann Woodward's Origins of the New South
(1951), he analyzes the impact of written history and sociology on the intellectual and social life of the South.
Originally published in 1977.
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