Sue Eisenfeld, Wandering Dixie
Sue Eisenfeld is a Yankee by birth, a Virginian by choice, an urbanite who came to love the rural South, a Civil War buff, and a non-observant Jewish woman. In Wandering Dixie, a travel-through-history work of literary-nonfiction, she explores who the history of Jewish southerners converges with the region’s complex, conflicted present. In the process, she discovers the unexpected ways that race, religion, and hidden histories intertwine. Throughout the Deep South, she visits small towns where Jewish people once lived and thrived. She talks with the only Jews remaining in some of the “lost” places and goes to areas with no Jewish community left—except for perhaps an old temple or overgrown cemetery. She follows the trail of her distant cousin, civil rights activist Andrew Goodman, who was murdered during Freedom Summer in 1964. She follows her curiosity about Jewish Confederates and casts an unflinching eye on early southern Jews’ participation in slavery. Her travels become a journey of revelation about our nation’s fraught history and a personal reckoning with the true nature of America.