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Shirley Abbott

Published Date: April 5, 2017

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Growing Up Down South
210 pages
5 ½ × 8 ¼


A classic that has been in print since its first publication in 1983, Womenfolks is both a personal memoir and a meditation on the often pernicious mythologies of southern cultural history. Shirley Abbott gives us the gritty, independent women of the backwoods, the South’s true heroines, whose hardscrabble world is one of red dirt and hard work—a far cry from the hoopskirts and magnolias of southern lore. As honest, vibrant, and remarkable as the women whose stories illuminate these pages, Womenfolks draws a vivid portrait of a rural culture beset by poverty and sustained by deeply rooted traditions. In her new preface to this edition, Abbott assesses what has changed—and what may never change—about the burdens of southern history and expresses her hope that the better angels of our nature may prevail in our still-new century.

About the author

Shirley Abbott is the author of Bookmaker’s Daughter, Love’s Apprentice, and The Future of Love. She was born and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and now lives in Oregon.


Watch Shirley Abbott interviewed by Steve Barnes on AETN’s Barnes and…


“This reprint of Shirley Abbott’s classic of Southern cultural history is as insightful, informative, delightful, and relevant as the original was thirty-three years ago. It is a wonderful book that stands the test of time.”

Margaret Bolsterli


“Wonderful and important.”

—Pat Conroy


“The South of the backwoods, hillbilly plain folk has at last found its true and inspired interpreter.”

—C. Vann Woodward


“An illuminating book, regardless of where we were born.”

Boston Globe

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