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Penguin: Adult Hardcover & Trade Paperback Summer 2019

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Spying on the South
An Odyssey Across the American Divide
By (author): Tony Horwitz
9781101980286 Hardcover English General Trade HISTORY / United States / 19th Century May 14, 2019
$40.00 CAD
Active 6.33 x 9.5 x 1.46 in 496 pages 4 MAPS; 3 B&W PHOTOS Penguin Press
The best-selling author of Confederates in the Attic returns to the South and the Civil War era for an epic adventure on the trail of America’s greatest landscape architect.

In the 1850s, the young Frederick Law Olmsted was adrift, a restless farmer and dreamer in search of a mission. He found it during an extraordinary journey, as an undercover correspondent in the South for the up-and-coming New York Times.

For the Connecticut Yankee, pen name “Yeoman,” the South was alien, often hostile territory. Yet Olmsted traveled for 14 months, by horseback, steamboat, and stagecoach, seeking dialogue and common ground. His vivid dispatches about the lives and beliefs of Southerners were revelatory for readers of his day, and Yeoman’s remarkable trek also reshaped the American landscape, as Olmsted sought to reform his own society by creating democratic spaces for the uplift of all. The result: Central Park and Olmsted’s career as America’s first and foremost landscape architect.

Tony Horwitz rediscovers Yeoman Olmsted amidst the discord and polarization of our own time. Is America still one country? In search of answers, and his own adventures, Horwitz follows Olmsted’s tracks and often his mode of transport (including muleback): through Appalachia, down the Mississippi River, into bayou Louisiana, and across Texas to the contested Mexican borderland. Venturing far off beaten paths, Horwitz uncovers bracing vestiges and strange new mutations of the Cotton Kingdom. Horwitz’s intrepid and often hilarious journey through an outsized American landscape is a masterpiece in the tradition of Great Plains, Bad Land, and the author’s own classic, Confederates in the Attic.

BESTSELLING AUTHOR, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER: Horwitz’s seven books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and won widespread critical acclaim.

MASTER OF HISTORICAL TRAVELOGUES: In other books, Horwitz has followed Captain Cook, conquistadors, and Confederates. Spying on the South tells the story of the antebellum South versus today.

UNTOLD STORY OF FATHER OF CENTRAL PARK: Fredrick Law Olmsted is known for founding landscape architecture, but in his youth he was also a journalist, farmer, and abolitionist.

Tony Horwitz was a native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As a newspaper reporter he spent a decade overseas, mainly covering wars and conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for The Wall Street Journal. Returning to the U.S., he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and wrote for The New Yorker before becoming a full-time author. His books include the national and New York Times bestsellers, Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, Baghdad Without a Map, and A Voyage Long and Strange. Midnight Rising was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2011 and one of the year’s ten best books by Library Journal. Tony was also a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the president of the Society of American Historians. He died in May 2019, and is survived by his wife Geraldine Brooks and their two sons, Nathaniel and Bizu.

Author Residence: Martha’s Vineyard, MA

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Author Social Media: Twitter @TonyHorwitz

Pre-publication blurbs:

“Like his classic Confederates in the Attic, this book will be read, remembered, and treasured.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian and author of The Soul of America

Spying on the South kept me turning the pages to see what frightening and funny revelation was coming next.”—Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains and Travels in Siberia

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