The State of Southern Illinois
An Illustrated History
Publication Year: 2012
In The State of Southern Illinois: An Illustrated History, Herbert K. Russell offers fresh interpretations of a number of important aspects of Southern Illinois history. Focusing on the area known as “Egypt,” the region  south of U.S. Route 50 from Salem south to Cairo, he begins his book with the earliest geologic formations and  follows Southern Illinois’s history into the twenty-first century. The volume is richly illustrated with maps and photographs, mostly in color, that highlight the informative and straightforward text.
Perhaps most notable is the author’s use of dozens of heretofore neglected sources to dispel the myth that Southern Illinois is merely an extension of Dixie. He corrects the popular impressions that slavery was introduced by early settlers from the South and that a majority of Southern Illinoisans wished to secede. Furthermore, he presents the first in-depth discussion of twelve pre–Civil War, free black communities located in the region. He also identifies the roles coal mining, labor violence, gangsters, and the media played in  establishing the area’s image. He concludes optimistically, unveiling a twenty-first-century Southern Illinois filled with myriad attractions and opportunities for citizens and tourists alike.
The State of Southern Illinois is the most accurate all-encompassing volume of history on this unique area that often regards itself as a state within a state. It offers an entirely new perspective on race relations, provides insightful information on the cultural divide between north and south in Illinois, and pays tribute to an often neglected and misunderstood region of this multidimensional state, all against a stunning visual backdrop.
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
Series: Shawnee Books
Title Page, Copyright Page
Several people contributed in different ways to the making of this book: former marketing and editorial director James D. Simmons of the Southern Illinois University Press, whose suggestion that I work with Southern Illinois materials resulted in earlier books; former Press director...
The title of this book refers both to the current state, or condition, of Southern Illinois and to the historical antecedents that make it so different from the rest of Illinois that it sometimes seems like a separate state. The book focuses primarily on the region south of...
The State of Southern Illinois
The beauty of Southern Illinois is easily explained: nature has spent ages making it perfect, or nearly so. But it was not always this way. Millions of years ago, Illinois had a rocky and barren landscape, and some scientists think it had volcanoes. Volcanic rubble has been found...
Sources are shown in full for their first use and in short form for second and subsequent uses. Also provided are complete sources for certain informative photo captions and epigraphs. A complete bibliography follows...
Herbert K. Russell earned the Ph.D. in English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The author of Edgar Lee Masters: A Biography and scholarly articles in journals and reference works, he has edited and written introductions for several Southern Illinois University Press books, including...