“The cumulative product of historical and geographical incidence appears to characterize the [Southeast US] region somewhat as follows: as to resources — superabundance; as to science, skills, technology, organization — deficiency; as to general economy — waste; as to culture — richness, with immaturity and multiple handicaps; as to trends — hesitancy and relative retrogression in many aspects of culture.”
(Howard Odum, University of North Carolina Press, 1936)
The above quote is a small sliver from a 600-page study of the Southeast — Southern Regions of the United States. Rich with data and sweeping in scope, in its time it was the definitive text on the South. If Howard Odum’s eighty-year-old summary of the region were applied to our time, it would be hard to argue with very much of it.