Let's discuss SPYING ON THE SOUTH by Tony Horwitz

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The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who wrote the wonderful bestseller, CONFEDERATES IN THE ATTIC, returns to the South for another wise and often hilarious tale.

In this new book Tony Horwitz is following in the path of an earlier journalist (called in those days "a roving correspondent") who made a trip through the South in the 1850s on the brink of the Civil War. This Connecticut Yankee writer sent his dispatches to the New York Daily Times to be published under the pseudonym "Yeoman". This early traveler cum correspondent was Frederick Law Olmsted who is today celebrated as a visionary architect who designed, among other spaces, New York's Central Park, and the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

As a rebuke to the caste-bound ideology of the South's aristocratic class, Olmsted found his own way to a career as America's foremost landscape architect. In the process, he sought to reform his own society by creating democratic spaces for the uplift of all.

Amid the angry discord and polarization of our own time, Tony Horwitz follows Olmsted's path, often using his mode of transport: through Appalachia, down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, into bayou Louisiana, and across Texas to the contested Mexican borderland. The resulting book is a splendid study of Olmsted, whose destiny was forged by his Southern odyssey, and some penetrating, poignant and often very funny stories of Horwitz' own journey through this outsize American landscape.