The author's road trips through the American South lead to a personal confrontation with history
In A Deeper South: The Beauty, Mystery, and Sorrow of the Southern Road, Pete Candler offers a travel narrative drawn from twenty-five years of road-tripping through the backroads of the American South. Featuring Candler's own photography, the book taps into the public imagination and the process of both remembering and forgetting that define our collective memory of place. In this highly personal investigation of the impact of white supremacy and the regime of silence on his own family, Candler reflects on the underexplored South in his attempt to confront Southern memory and nostalgia. In the process, he realizes that he is more connected to those histories than he ever imagined.
With the wit of a Southern storyteller and the eye of a photographer, Candler takes the reader on a journey that spans two continents, six states, and countless miles of asphalt. Along the way, we meet the "galaxy's no. 1 Elvis fan," stop to ponder roadside markers and small-town monuments, and contemplate what makes the South both distinct from, and emblematic of, the nation of which it is a part. The stories that he uncovers can only be found off the beaten path, away from the curated tourist experiences and mass culture located near the interstate exit ramp. A Deeper South is about Candler's journeys to see the South and understand it, and he invites us to ride along.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Pete Candler is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Bitter Southerner, Washington Post, and elsewhere. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.