The author aspires to be a new John Gunther and, spanning the deep southern states, has interviewed 1,000 men and women. He is industrious, he is pro-integration, but the book lacks the chiffon-and-bourbon Gunther glamour, and comparisons with Cash, Key or Mencken are out of the question. Those interviewed were public figures and ""just plain people."" One focus is progress in transit, housing and education -- Peirce finds that ""the dual school system of the South has been virtually terminated."" He also seeks out political records and recent scandals: George Wallace's regressive taxes are documented, along with the grisly prisons of the region. Like publicists of a century ago, Peirce stresses an economic boom for which he credits Winthrop Rockefeller, among others. A lot is left out about recent developments in the textile industry, for example. Historical background provides a sense of the differences among the states -- the fall from greatness of South Carolina, the way Georgia has kept its schism between the genteel and the ""wool hats."" Some may find the book too predigested and others, on the contrary, too laden with dull particulars; Peirce misses me full magic of special Deep South enclaves and the Full horror of starvation, illiteracy and oppression. But it's a sturdy reference on a perennially drawing topic.