First published in 1970, The New South Creed has lost none of its usefulness to anyone examining the dream of a "New South"—prosperous, powerful, racially harmonious—that developed in the three decades after the Civil War, and the transformation of that dream into widely accepted myths, shielding and perpetuating a conservative, racist society. Many young moderates of the period created a philosophy designed to enrich the region—attempting to both restore the power and prestige and to lay the race question to rest. In spite of these men and their efforts, their dream of a New South joined the Antebellum illusion as a genuine social myth, with a controlling power over the way in which their followers, in both North and South, perceived reality.
A powerful blend of grace and passion ... as relevant as if it were written yesterday.
—Dan T. Carter, University of South Carolina
Read against the efflorescence of new work on history and memory in the South, we can now understand that The New South Creed
was thirty years ahead of its time ... Paul Gaston reminds us that visions of reality are always socially constructed, whether one uses memories or hopes to mobilize people, resources, and institutions.
—Glenda Gilmore, Yale University
One of the few books in our profession that can truly be called a classic ... Paul Gaston artfully blends deep research, graceful prose, and judicious interpretations ... His brilliant afterword looks beyond history to show how the myth still conceals appalling realities today.
—Charles Joyner, Coastal Carolina University
—James C. Cobb, University of Georgia
Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, the notion of a 'new South' has been reappearing periodically since Jamestown trumped Plymouth four centuries ago. Nobody has ever interpreted this phenomenon more clearly than Paul Gaston.
—John Egerton, Nashville, Tennessee
A brilliant examination of purposeful mythmaking.
—Sheldon Hackney, University of Pennsylvania
Essential reading for all those who seek to understand how a social and economic illusion is constructed to displace the disturbing realities of a profoundly inequitable society.
—Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California, Santa Barbara