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02.00.04 Simkins, Francis Butler, A History of the South, published in 1953 (an expanded version of The South, Old and New, 1820-1947, published in 1947).

Notes Concerning the Author.

Francis Butler Simkins (1897-1966) was born in Edgefield, South Carolina and received his B. A. degree from the University of South Carolina in 1918 and his M. A. degree in 1921.  He received his PhD in 1926 from Columbia University.  For most of his academic career he taught history at Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia.  He also taught at Louisiana State University where he was a mentor to Charles P. Roland who, like Simkins, was a historian of the South and the War Between the States, spending most of his academic career at Tulane University and the University of Kentucky.  Roland is significant in this review because he edited the latter and best issues of Simkins’ history of the South which we are recommending here.  For a time Simkins was president of the Southern Historical Association.


The following review from the Arkansas Historical Quarterly of 1954 ably presents this work.

“A History of the South contains the material that is in Francis B. Simkins’ earlier book, The South Old and New, 1820-1947, which was first published in the latter year.  The new work carries the story back to the founding of the Jamestown colony in Virginia in 1607 and brings it up through the Presidential election of 1952.  The publisher’s blurb on the dust jacket is perhaps not unreasonably laudatory in making the claim the this new book is ‘the comprehensive study of the whole South throughout its whole history . . .’  Certainly Professor Simkins has set such a task as his goal and has come very close to attaining it.  He has undertaken to write about every side of the South’s history and does so with intelligence and a very deep knowledge of his subjects.  He devotes a great deal of space to Southern literature, art and architecture, religion and social customs, without in any way slighting political history.”

The review continues but space limitations suggest we stop here. 

This history is very good and went through a number of editions.  The latter editions updated by Charles P. Roland are probably the best.  The book is about 675 pages of very good history.  This book has been listed in the epic history category based on the long span of time it covers.

Availability of this Book.

This book, in its many reprints is available as paperbacks and as hardbound issues.  Choices are available on-line starting with inexpensive prices for the used ones.