Pursuit of Unity

A Political History of the American South

By Michael Perman

408 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 illus., 4 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7228-4
    Published: February 2012
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-9925-0
    Published: January 2010

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In Pursuit of Unity, Michael Perman presents a comprehensive analysis of the South's political history. In the 1800s, the region endured almost continuous political crisis--nullification, secession, Reconstruction, the Populist revolt, and disfranchisement. For most of the twentieth century, the region was dominated by a one-party system, the "Solid South," that ensured both political unity internally and political influence in Washington. But in both centuries, the South suffered from the noncompetitive, one-party politics that differentiated it from the rest of the country. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Perman argues, the South's political distinctiveness has come to an end, as has its pursuit of unity.

About the Author

Michael Perman is research professor in the humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has written or edited seven books in American history, including Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888-1908 and Emancipation and Reconstruction. He has also held a Guggenheim Fellowship and won three book prizes.
For more information about Michael Perman, visit the Author Page.


"A clear, sound synthesis of a crucial subject. . . . Readers at every level should applaud his invaluable contribution."--Civil War Book Review

“Perman has filled a pressing need for a modern, comprehensive survey of southern political history. . . . Perman has skillfully and cogently illuminated its past, tying the regional experience together with an effective, coherent theme. Students and fans of southern politics will enjoy this first-rate study.”--North Carolina Historical Review


"An important new study."--Journal of American History

“Well written and accessible.”--Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“Perman’s new political history of the South is the first of its kind….No other volume synthesizes the region’s political history from the earliest years of the new nation ot the present. With its fine balance of generalization and detail and its clear prose, the book seems certain to attract both scholarly and general readers.” --Georgia Historical Quarterly