Good Reads: Southern Edition

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I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Although, that hasn't always been the case for me. I grew up with a Father who read to me and my siblings frequently. I have very fond memories of him reading to us. I think the first memories are of Goodnight Moon, a childhood classic that I have read to Elleanor many times. I also remember books like The Hobbit being favorites of ours. My Father loved to read to us and l find myself feeling the same way when I read to Elleanor. She's so curious and adventurous and reading books to her helps spark her wonderful imagination. Reading can be the catalyst that invites unmatched creativity. 

Once I became school aged I remember not doing any reading on my own unless it was for school purposes. I just didn't have the urge to read anything that I wasn't forced to read. And when you're forced to read something it makes it not all that enjoyable. Although my Father continued to read to us when time permitted. I also remember my older brother always having a book in his hand. At that time in my life, it just wasn't for me. 

Fast forward to twenty years old and I found myself in the Armed Forces. On long deployments, like six months on a naval vessel, reading was about the only thing to do. And I did it quite a bit. Only this time I found it different. I realized that as I was reading the books that I wanted to read I was learning about things and places that I never knew about. I loved it, and I realized how much a good book can teach us about the world. 

Now I find myself continuing that through my life outside of the military. I always love to have a book I'm reading. Friends are always giving me more recommendations. The "to read" list is getting a little out of control. The books that I find myself enjoying the most are non-fiction. Amazing true stories about people's accomplishments and adventures. Although, on occasion, I do read fiction and I will also share some of those with you as well.

I'm calling this the Southern Edition because the books I have chosen to highlight are uniquely tied to the South. Several are amazing, true to history, tales of conflict in the South. Conflict with key historical players and importance. The other is a work of fiction from an author who used the South as backdrop for so many of his novels and who called Beaufort, SC home.

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The first book is titled Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast by Daniel J. Tortora. It complies many historical documents to tell the history of the Carolinas during the pre-revolution timeframe. This book shows how so much more than taxation without representation attributed to the colonies desire to break ties with Great Britain. While taxation was a key issue it was certainly not the only issue. Pre-revolution Cherokee Indians in the Carolina backcountry were creating serious problems for colonists and British alike. Many colonists felt that the British should have done more to quell the Indian troubles in the backcountry. While the elite colonist of the Low Country did not feel as many of the effects of Indian affairs in the Upstate, the loss of militia and British regulars to the Upstate caused fears of slave uprisings. This book is a must read for any Revolutionary War enthusiasts or anyone interested in Southern history. 

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The second book on this list is Swamp Fox by John Oller. This book depicts the true accounts of Francis Marion, who was nicknamed the Swap Fox. Although we use this nickname today as a term of endearment, it was not the case when it came to be. The British gave Marion the nickname, and to call someone a "fox" was not something that one aspired to. It meant sneaky and sly, someone who we might call a trickster, someone elusive. The "swamp" in front of Swap Fox is much more matter of fact. Francis Marion kept his hideout and escape routes to the back country swamps of South Carolina. Terrain that for the unfamiliar, such as British regulars, was impossible to navigate. Oller uses letters, diary entries, military reports and more to piece together this fascinating account. More and more historians believe that had the battle for the South Carolina colony not been won that the outcome of the Revolutionary war would have been much different. We often don't hear about these historic figures because so much of Revolutionary history revolves around George Washington. I won't argue George Washington's importance, but there were certainly more players of equal importance to the formation of our country. 

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The third book The Great Santini by Pat Conroy is a classic novel that some time ago was turned into a major motion picture. Not that that is a requirement for great books, if you're like me you'll find that the books are always better than the movies. Sadly, the author, Pat Conroy, passed away only a few years ago. However, his novels are timeless. The Great Santini tell the story of a young man, about to graduate high school. He lives in a military family, where his father is a Marine Corps fighter pilot. The family finds themselves moving to a new post at a Marine Corps Air Station in South Carolina. The young man finds himself enamored with the local culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry and quickly finds there is more to the place than meets the eye. His father, The Great Santini, is a hard nosed man who the reader will love and hate. A father who commits unforgivable acts, yet in his own way shows unwavering love for his family. Pat Conroy's novels, for me, have always been fantastic reads. They're gritty, real, and at times dark. Yet at times, that is how real life is and that's why sometimes when I read a Pat Conroy novel I think that it could be a true story. 

I would recommend these books to any casual reader. They are great reads where you can learn and explore a time long since gone. You can also immerser yourself in the life of a family trying to find there way in a new home. 

We hope you enjoy these books! If you have some recommendations for good reads, please comment below, send us an email or shoot us a message on Instagram!