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Last Train to Dixie, a collection of essays by Jack Trotter, was published last year by Shotwell Publishing, a Southern press presided over by the grand panjandrum of Southern historiography, Clyde Wilson. It is a varied collection, whose themes range across a broad spectrum: Charleston's old families, a Southern book awards celebration, Zora Neale Hurston, and segregation.
None of these pieces belongs to that dreaded genre of late modern journalism, "the article," in which an ignorant and untalented writer swots up a subject to make himself an instant expert. These are essays, readable, ironic, and far-ranging. Many of them I read before they were published, because I was then the editor who accepted them. A few others were written for our friends at the Abbevillle Institute.
I am shamefully late in drawing attention to this book. It arrived at a time when I was about to undergo surgery and disappeared in a ton of mail and publications that got shunted off to my third floor eyrie. When I saw Jack a few months ago in Charleston, I felt a twinge in remembering that something had come in from him but promptly forgot my promise to find a reviewer. Straightening up one room of my study yesterday, what did I discover--buried under letters from Anthony Bukosky--was the still unopened envelope containing the book. To compound my shame, I found that it was dedicated to Clyde Wilson, myself, and the late Aaron Wolf.
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