Dr. Virginia Abernethy, retired from the Psychiatry Department of Vanderbilt University, is still going strong at age 90, as evidenced by her lively memoir, Born Abroad:  A Patriot’s Tale of Choice and Chance (Arktos: 2023). From a family of Virginian origins, she was, due to her father’s work, born in Havana and spent her childhood in Buenos Aires.  She still speaks, she writes, with a bit of a Spanish accent. The title Born Abroad is a playful double entendre, in keeping with her candid account of an interesting and varied life.

After return to the U.S. her time was spent in New York and Washington and at Wellesley. This was followed by some years among well-to-do ranchers in Wyoming, who she calls “The Mink and Manure Set,” and involved some real hands-on experience.

This was followed by PhD work at Harvard, which included a lot of personal interaction with patients at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, giving her considerable perspective on the life of Americans today below the elite sector.

Then came an offer from Vanderbilt: “The exuberance with which I drove out of Massachusetts (gun-controlled Taxachusetts) toward Tennessee in my little Ford can hardly be imagined. With joy I saw signposts to Staunton, Virginia, where my sons’ best friend had attended school, spotted signposts to Manassas, and on past the turn-off to Chattanooga, across the Cumberland plateau, and into Nashville.”

In Woke academia, Dr. Abernethy has become anathema, the fate of any independent thinker in today’s higher education. She has been strenuous in both scholarly publication and public activity in opposing the mass immigration that has been American policy for the past half century. She quotes a “conservative” talk-show host who reacted in horror when it was suggested that she appear on his show in debate with a leftist.

Her chapter “Uphill Pull” ought to be read by every American.  Her position, concisely generalised, is that the U.S. is in a destructive decline due to immigration. America has an optimum carrying capacity of 200,000,000 in terms of arable land, water, energy sources, and standard of living.  We are heading toward double that population, entirely from immigration, since traditional Americans are not replacing themselves, the economic effects of mass immigration having led to postponed marriages and reduced childbearing.

Mass immigration has pushed down the welfare of working Americans.  That is obvious despite the fact the “progressives” who claim to advocate for the poor are also advocates of immigration. She does not have kind words for the environmentalists who deliberately ignore the biggest factor to deterioration of the environment–mass immigration.

You can safely skip the ghostwritten memoirs of politicians, media gurus, Hollywood and TV celebrities, sports figures, corporate titans,  etc.  But this is a genuine truthful memoir of a long life in our times that is worth attention.

Clyde Wilson

Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina where he was the editor of the multivolume The Papers of John C. Calhoun. He is the M.E. Bradford Distinguished Chair at the Abbeville Institute. He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews and is co-publisher of www.shotwellpublishing.com, a source  for unreconstructed Southern books.


  • Gordon says:

    Dr. Wilson, thanks for this. I plan to read Dr. Abernethy’s BORN ABROAD as soon as I tear myself away from books about the Army of Northern Virginia. It sounds like, even if it parallels my opinion of America’s direction, it will be like a conversation with someone I should know.

    A subtext of both review and memoir could be progressives’ purpose with mass immigration is replacement of working Americans with no regard to consequences. It should be beneficial to hear it from a broader perspective, especially from someone who admits relief upon retreating into a land more like our own.

  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    All of this has ended…it’s all over. Thousands of immensely wealthy people have suddenly discovered the golem they helped to create has turned against them. Maybe you saw it for the few minutes it was on the television…somehow, coincidentally, thousands of our royalty stopped writing checks to harvard on the same day.

    Will this mean the SCOTUS ruling against quotas in college admissions will be enforced? Will the government stop allowing discrimination against White people?

    How will harvard research the truth of black Confederates fighting voluntarily for the South? I was hoping they’d discover the Corwin Amendment…before they ran out of funds…I guess Abbeville will have to keep dragging the buried Corwin Amendment out of history’s trash heap.

    The powers either shut down the internet and lose control of the masses OR THEY LOSE CONTROL BECAUSE THE INTERNET ALLOWS TRUTH TO BE ACCESSED AND THE OFFICIAL NARRATIVE DISPUTED. Either way, they have lost control. Good riddance.

    No one forced you to feed poison to your women and to have sex without having children…the West valued money over family…and now you see the unintended consequence of making that immoral choice. GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY…your enemies are…

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