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An excerpt from the introduction to Southern Living: 50 Years, available October 20. Purchase it at Amazon.com or wherever books are sold.

This book is not just a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Southern Living, a milestone the magazine will hit in February 2016. It's a celebration of the South, a heartfelt tribute to our people, places, and culture. It represents the work of a lot of talented people over the years, but it's not a history book, and it's by no means a definitive guide to the region. This is a scrapbook, a collection of covers, photographs, and stories that attempt to capture the beauty and sweep of the South as seen through the eyes of its biggest fan.

It's also the story of an incredible journey that started in February 1966, when The Progressive Farmer Company launched Southern Living, declaring it the "Magazine of the Modern South." As relentless champions of the region's food, homes, gardens, cities, arts, literature, and natural beauty, the editors envisioned a bright future for the South, and they promoted that vision on every page.

We haven't strayed far from the vision laid out by our founders in 1966, but what has changed is the South. I imagine those Progressive Farmer editors would be surprised and delighted to know that our cities are the most diverse, dynamic, and sought-after cultural destinations in the country. They'd be especially pleased that the South is celebrating its agrarian roots, with a new generation of farmers reminding us all where we came from.

5 Things You're Going to Love About this Book

-Tons of fun, archival photos

-Every cover we've run since 1966

-Essays by Rick Bragg, Julia Reed, and Bobby McAlpine

-Our favorite recipes, from fried chicken to biscuits

-Beautiful photographs from every region