The Provincials

A Personal History of Jews in the South

By Eli N. Evans

With photographs and a new introduction by the author; Foreword by Willie Morris

440 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, 32 illus.

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5623-9
    Published: February 2005
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7634-3
    Published: March 2006
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8034-5
    Published: March 2006

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In this classic portrait of Jews in the South, Eli N. Evans takes readers inside the nexus of southern and Jewish histories, from the earliest immigrants to the present day. Evoking the rhythms and heartbeat of Jewish life in the Bible belt, Evans weaves together chapters of recollections from his youth and early years in North Carolina with chapters that explore the experiences of Jews in many cities and small towns across the South. He presents the stories of communities, individuals, and events in this quintessential American landscape that reveal the deeply intertwined strands of what he calls a unique "Southern Jewish consciousness."

First published in 1973 and updated in 1997, The Provincials was the first book to take readers on a journey into the soul of the Jewish South, using autobiography, storytelling, and interpretive history to create a complete portrait of Jewish contributions to the history of the region. No other book on this subject combines elements of memoir and history in such a compelling way. This new edition includes a gallery of more than two dozen family and historical photographs as well as a new introduction by the author.

About the Author

Eli N. Evans was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale Law School. He is author of Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate and The Lonely Days Were Sundays: Reflections of a Jewish Southerner. He is president emeritus of the Charles H. Revson Foundation and lives in New York City.
For more information about Eli N. Evans, visit the Author Page.


"[A] spell-binding portrait of growing up in the South during the last century. . . . [An] absolute must for anyone who wants to understand something of the history of the South."-- DurhamHerald Sun

"With the distance of many years and many miles, Evans successfully examines the status of the Jews of the South in the last 300 years. He has written an amazing classic."--Jewish News

"A solid history . . . in a personal, easy-reading format"--Texas Jewish Post

"This book is truly a gem. Its enduring appeal, which has already been demonstrated, will now be enriched by this new edition. . . . The definitive history of Southern Jewry. Evans writes with warmth and discernment, setting forth an engaging and witty story that will rivet the interest of its readers."--Cleveland Jewish News

"No account of the Jewish communities of the South would be complete without Eli Evans' The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South. . . . The Provincials is indispensable to understanding the place where 'Jews in the South' become 'Southern Jews' and then 'Jewish Southerners.'"--Jewish News Weekly

"[A] landmark portrait of Southern Jewry."--The Jewish Press