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Better Off Without 'Em

A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Chuck Thompson—dubbed "savagely funny" by The New York Times and "wickedly entertaining" by the San Francisco Chronicle—spent two years traveling the American South to determine whether, as he’d long suspected but not yet proven, the whole country might be better off letting Dixieland make good on its two-hundred-years-old threat to secede. The result is a long overdue and serious inquiry into national divides that is deliberately provocative and uproariously funny while making a compelling case for "a kind of no-fault divorce for nation-states: no hard feelings, just two adults who can’t quite make the relationship work, shaking hands and walking away" (The Oxford American).

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 30, 2012 – Acerbic travel writer Thompson (Smile When You're Lying) turns his withering gaze southward in this lengthy argument for Southern secession. Employing a litany of quotes, studies, and interviews (often with folks that must surely be the most reprehensible specimens he could dig up, including proud Klansmen) to bolster this hilariously over-the-top "apoplexy of northern martyrdom," Thompson argues that the South's deep-rooted ties to evangelical Christianity, allegiance to socially conservative politics, and failure to look toward the long-term has had a detrimental effect on the region, as well as on the nation as a whole, resulting in a surfeit of exploited American workers living paycheck to paycheck, terrible public schools, and latent racism operating under the guise of the Religious Right. It may sound like a hodgepodge of allegations, but Thompson's mix of vitriol, bewilderment, humor, and research holds the seemingly disparate elements together and makes for an entertaining, if absurdly hyperbolic, read. Fans of Thompson's previous work (those familiar with his screed against school teachers in Smile will find some tonal similarity in his chapter on college football) will get the most out of the book, but even proud Southerners will likely be find a few thought-provoking problems to chew on.

Customer Reviews

Stick to travel topics

I love all of Chuck Thompson's books - except this one. He is (was) an excellent writer, hilarious comments and insight in his first two travel books as well as two outstanding WW II guidebooks - which I highly recommend.
I wish he had stopped there because this book is not funny. It is much too long, filled with boring cliches, liberal litany, uncreative commentary and just overall, not a book worth reading.
Admittedly, there are some good points. We all hate corruption in all it's forms and hope for change but he "crossed the line" in this book and has probably has lost a lot of fans. At least one. I hope he goes back to his strengths and leaves other topics alone because he took a professional dive on this drivel.

Makes sense

Northeast is UK
Northwest is Scandinavia
California is France in its heyday (wine, tech, cultural lead)
The South is the Albania/Balkans

Sounds fine, except...

One thing is for certain: It is definitely time to reconsider the union. Any student of world history and political philosophy can see that the centralized American government cannot defend individual liberty anymore. In fact, no centralized government of such size could do it. The government has become a bloated cesspool of corruption that robs the people blind while leading us on a path of certain economic collapse. The only way to correct our course is to decentralize. Oh, and for the record: Texas would NEVER go to the north! Texas will go it alone and do just fine, thank you very much!

Better Off Without 'Em
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Political Science
  • Published: Aug 14, 2012
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings