The Rural South: Background–Problems–Outlook

The Rural South: Background—Problems—Outlook is a 466-page hardback non-fiction novel written by University of Alabama alum, Samuel Chesnutt, produced in 1941. This edition was acquired from Hoole Special Collections in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the book remains stationed there as a library

archive. As the United States expanded and conquered Western plains, the traditionally Southern region also began to gradually extend its borders outward to include new states such as Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. This eight-volume book analyzes the social, economic, political, geographic, and agricultural conditions of Southern states over time—beginning its scope with the early pioneer days up through America’s most exponential crisis: The Great Depression. The author includes information regarding the drastic changes between farmers’ pre-war and post-depression dollar worth, the types of crops that excelled in different parts of the region, the populations’ level of education, and the fluctuating taxation rates. Chesnutt also incorporates photographs of shifting landscapes, pie charts demonstrating a depletion of worth in the farm-dollar, and table-graphs illustrating a steep decline of parity price all within the wake of America’s greatest stock market crash. Chapter 25, titled ‘The Crisis and The Turning Point’ discusses multiple principles believed to cause an agricultural depression prior to the actual stock market crash on Wall Street in October 1929. Pages 369-380 primarily detail the struggles that southern farmers endured during the era of the Great Depression and what eventually sparked a demand for the redistribution of wealth.

This book benefits readers by offering a glimpse into the lifestyle and political conditions that Southern-Americans endured during the 1930’s. Although the book does include detailed information on subjects separate from Depression-era topics, the author’s artistic choice in having readers progress over time with each new chapter helps build a more comprehensive, historical perspective on important topics concerning the 1929 stock market crash. The information provided throughout the pages of this novel is of significant value to researchers interested in gaining a broad understanding of various hardships that Southerners endured during the Great Depression as it analyzes substantial sociohistorical aspects that consumed the daily lives of Americans in the 1930’s.