Crawdads, mudbugs, poor man's lobsters, Founders of the Universe: the Deep South is teeming with mouthwatering crustaceans, and thanks to the folks at Lonely Planet, you'll never make the mistake of calling them crayfish. You'll also get the scoop on an innumerable host of southern specialities--biscuits and gravy, boysenberry pie and the best of the blues, to name just a few--plus learn where to sip prizewinning smoky mountain brown porter (at The Mill in Birmingham, Alabama), when to attend the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival (last weekend in March) or an Elvis Tribute (August 16), and exactly how it is one procures the true taste of Nashville (head south of Broadway for plates brimming with catfish, greens and cornbread).
A detailed introduction brings to life this history-steeped and (to outsiders) somewhat peculiar region. You'll learn about early native peoples, exploration and settlement, the rise of slavery, fighting for (and losing) the Confederacy, and the resultant reconstruction and civil rights movement. Nature buffs will get a peek at some of the many ecological and biological wonders they can expect to encounter: cypress swamps, piny woods, a petrified forest and their myriad inhabitants, including armadillos and the short-haired leopard dog. Having covered the basics, Deep South gets down to the nitty-gritty. State-by-state, city-by- city, blues-joint-by-blues-joint, it offers a veritable mountain of facts. Use it to find old- fashioned soda fountains, Booker T. Washington's greenhouse, the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum or simply to find an affordable place to sleep. Deep South "covers all the bases", even where to watch America's favourite pastime--southern style, of course. With copious photos, maps and an essential glossary of terms. --Martha Silano