Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Reviews in American History


Karen L. Cox, ed. Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012. ix + 315 pp. Illustrations, notes, and index. $74.95 (cloth); $26.95 (paper). Harvey H. Jackson III. The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera: An Insider’s History of the Florida–Alabama Coast. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012. 334pp. Illustrations, maps, essay on sources, and index. $28.95 (cloth); $19.95 (paper). Henry Knight. Tropic of Hopes: California, Florida, and the Selling of American Paradise, 1869–1929. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2013. xii + 266 pp. Illustrations, tables, notes, bibliography, and index. $74.95. Catherine Cocks. Tropical Whites: The Rise of the Tourist South in the Americas. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. ix + 255 pp. Illustrations, plates, notes, and index. $59.95. In the last decade, tourism has matured as a historical subfield. It has expanded geographically, temporally, and thematically and has even marked perhaps its first major historiographical watershed—a seeming sign of maturity—as historians in the last fifteen years have either extended or challenged Hal Rothman’s implication of tourism as an erosive force in Devil’s Bargains (1998). Four recent books consider tourism in various parts of the South as it relates to the region, the nation, and the Americas more broadly. The first two books refine our understanding of how tourism reworked Southern communities and Southern heritage, while the second two recover conceptions held by U.S. citizens more than a century ago to show how these ideas enabled promoters to recast tropical or semitropical places as ideal leisure destinations without abandoning the comfort, safety, and virtue of domestic society. Each of the books in different ways also examines the complex interplay of race, class, and geography. ...

Original Citation

Souther, Mark. 2015. "Down South in/of Dixie: Rethinking the Tourist South." Reviews in American History 43:116-125. doi:10.1353/rah.2015.0005