The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981

Book Reviews

willingness to compromise to gain personal freedom makes this south-
ern woman the bane of ERA advocates. Betty Talmadge is offered as
the South's leading female advocate of the ERA, successful because
she is so delightfully feminine on the surface "in her pink lipstick and
Ultrasuede and a cloud of Givenchy III." She "knows the difference
between style and substance, and opts for both" (p. 158), says McKern.
McKern's southern woman survives in style, drawing strength from
other sources in the South, especially from family ties (clan, not nu-
clear family), a love of the land, the small town South's religious life,
and from the southern acceptance of creative eccentricity. Her ac-
counts of the eccentrics are great fun to read. Atlanta's Faith Brunson
drives to work in the rain in an open convertible with a shower cap on
her head. But she came by her attitudes naturally, because of a father
who regularly mowed the lawn in white coat, shirt, and tie, and a cold-
natured Aunt Babe who rocked in the closet. Why not?
Other useful bits of information absorbed by the reader are an intro-
duction to the intrepid kudzu vine and so many southern colloquial-
isms that surely McKern invented some. My favorite is "It's a long,
long road that don't never turn" (p. 132). Here is hoping that the road
turns a little more toward open self-respect for these women. Dr.
Pauline Clance, a clinical psychologist, suggests that the need to com-
promise forced on southern women by their history is a temporary one.
I hope so.
A fascinating array of women parade through the pages of this book.
Whether you accept or reject McKern's defense of her unique southern
woman, you will find much to enjoy or discuss heatedly in Redneck
Mothers, Good Ol' Girls and Other Southern Belles. I felt that there
was much to say about the southern black woman's life and about
extreme conservatives like Mary Cain that McKern didn't begin to
explore. However, for good storytelling, a huge compendium of col-
loquialisms, saucy wit, a classic collection of elective eccentricities, and
some rather large piles of bull manure, this book is a delight!
Lamar University Jo ANN STILES
Marxists and Utopias in Texas. By Ernest G. Fischer. (Burnet, Texas:
Eakin Press, 1980. Pp. viii+246. Illustrations, bibliography, in-
dex. $14.95.)
During the nineteenth century, thousands of Americans joined com-
munes and created social institutions that were quite different from the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/. Accessed April 17, 2014.