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Hell's Belles
A Tribute to the Spitfires, Bad Seeds and Steel Magnolias of the New and Old South
Searle Ballenger
ISBN: 9781573240963
Book (Paperback)
Conari Press
$17.95
7 x 7
256 pages
50 B&W photos, index
January 1, 1997


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Bad seeds, belles-lettres, rule breakers, shreiking violets, bar belles- how could any collections of impudent sketches that celebrates and lampoons the American Southern bell go wrong? Most of the women on these pages are instantly recognizable. Among those whose exploits or imagination vaulted them to fame are writers Carson McCullers and Anne Rice; emancipator Harriet Tubman; actress and one-time town owner Kim Basinger; ex-black Panther Angela Davis; 30's outlaw Bonnie Parker; and mascara maven Tammy Faye Baker. A few little-knowns and relative newcomers have elbowed their way on stage, too.

From Mama to Mammy, from Scarlett to Blanche, Hell's Belles (often exclaimed in mock piety and defining generations of Southern women) is hilarious and loving tribute to the famous and infamous females of ol' Dixie. This diverse collections features more than 200 women-aristocratic to poverty stricken, well-bred to ill-mannered, from Virginia to Texas (the heart of the Confederacy)- who have one thing in common: a uniquely Southern take on life and a strength and a strength of character molded by their roots.

Searle Ballenger is a native Alabamian (the cradle of the Confederacy) and 100 percent southerner who has been temporarily stranded in a foreign land (California). Homesick and hungry for a good-humored dose of southern-fried fun (not to mention okra), the author cooked up this loving tribute to the women -- the backbone of the South -- who have raised hell, loved well and taken no guff while leaving their indelible, often magnolia-scented or Crisco-laden, but ultimately unforgettable, marks upon the world.


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