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Learning how to cope in the New South, which does not always seem so new, is a tall order, especially if you are Anna Neimus, an aspiring college journalist who just can’t seem to catch a break. A Northerner, sometimes Anna wonders if her liberal, feminist leanings are out of place at the Tri Delta sorority house in University, Mississippi. Her roommate, a quintessential southern girl, is always putting ideas in Anna’s head which, in turn, translate into controversial articles. Each one ignites the letters to the editor in full force and lands Anna in the center of the blast zone. But this time she has really blown it. She has struck a nerve on campus and is in a real pinch. In her article on Barack Obama’s appearance at Ole Miss, she declares the debate a historic bore. There is only one way to fix her problem – use her wits. With the help of her sorority sisters, fraternity boyfriends, and her best friend, a fellow student and African-American conservative, Anna plows head-on into the fray, leaving a path of destruction that makes Animal House look tame. In the shadow of the racial tensions her University has survived in the past, now it is Anna’s turn to make a difference. Seeking the editor’s post at the campus newspaper, Anna must decide if running a newspaper or running for a student government position is the way to prove she is a leader. If By Whiskey is an irreverent, lighthearted look at the life of a Maryland woman living in Mississippi, with a message of tolerance and friendship that is a testament to the changing times.

Quentin Whitwell