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White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (2016)

by Nancy Isenberg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,670638,021 (3.58)88
"A history of the class system in America from the colonial era to the present illuminates the crucial legacy of the underprivileged white demographic, citing the pivotal contributions of lower-class white workers in wartime, social policy, and the rise of the Republican Party,"--NoveList.

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Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
An incredibly fascinating angle on American history. I think the tie between class and racism is a necessary inquiry that more people should make. The tone is odd, doesn't seem to offer solutions, nor does it seem to be neutral (seems to be bitterly sarcastic towards the "white trash," actually).

It also suffers from a lack of personal narrative pre-70s. Sure it brings in stories of entertainers, but very few normal people who would fit the stereotype. It particularly struggles pre-1930 but the author couldn't really be completely at fault. A lack of literacy permeates the stereotype and, if it is valid, they would leave no records behind.*

* See also [b:The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America|25723233|The Conservative Heart How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America|Arthur C. Brooks|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1434244172s/25723233.jpg|45558808] and its statements on the effect of poverty. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
I wasn't entirely sure what the author was trying to do with this book but she did a great job of summing things up in the Epilogue and I understood her point much better. There is a lot of information in this book and it can be a bit overwhelming but in the end I feel like I did learn some important things about class in America. There is one small technical quibble that I wish ebook authors and publishers would fix, the footnotes in this book either were purely citation notes (which I did not need to read as I was reading the book) or contained additional text that expanded on the point made in the main text. The latter I definitely wanted to read. Reading on the Kindle app for my iPad while on the subway it is difficult to touch the screen to get to footnotes as I'm often using 1 hand to hold on. If I knew all the footnotes were just citations I would have skipped them, but enough had additional material that I had to go to each one of them. It made for some interesting rides. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
I did not, could not finish this book. It was well researched and interesting but it read more like a long college essay. ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
nonfiction (sociology)--scholarly look at how impoverished whites have lived and have been portrayed throughout American history. I couldn't get through it as an ebook/egalley and there is still a long waiting list for this hard cover copy at my library, so I skipped to the last half (covering the 1940s to present day) which was somewhat enlightening but not that readable as nonfiction goes--a book that is probably much better read and absorbed slowly over months rather than rushed. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
A history of the politics of low class white people in the United States. I learned a lot while still being entertained, especially about the political campaigning and stereotypes of the 1700's and 1800's. ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nancy Isenbergprimary authorall editionscalculated
Belanger, FrancescaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miceli, JayaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, KirstenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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One of the most memorable films of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), a classic portrait of the legacy of slavery and racial segregation in the South.
We know what class is.
In the minds of literate English men and women, as colonization began in the 1500s, North America was an uncertain world inhabited by monstrous creatures, a blank territory skirted by mountains of gold.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A history of the class system in America from the colonial era to the present illuminates the crucial legacy of the underprivileged white demographic, citing the pivotal contributions of lower-class white workers in wartime, social policy, and the rise of the Republican Party,"--NoveList.

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Book description
Introduction: Fables we forget by

Part I: To begin the world anew.
Chapter 1. Taking out the trash : waste people in the New World ; Chapter 2. John Locke's Lubberland : the settlements of Carolina and Georgia ; Chapter 3. Benjamin Franklin's American breed : the demographics of mediocrity ; Chapter 4. Thomas Jefferson's rubbish : a curious topography of class ; Chapter 5. Andrew Jackson's cracker country : the squatter as common man

Part II. Degeneration of the American Breed.
Chapter 6. Pedigree and poor white trash : bad blood, half-breeds and clay-eaters ; Chapter 7. Cowards, Poltroons, and mudsills : Civil War as class warfare ; Chapter 8. Thoroughbreds and scalawags : bloodlines and bastard stock in the age of eugenics ; Chapter 9. Forgotten men and poor folk : downward mobility and the Great Depression ; Chapter 10. The cult of the country boy : Elvis Presley, Andy Griffith, and LBJ's Great Society

Part III. The white trash makeover.
Chapter 11. Redneck roots : Deliverance, Billy Beer, and Tammy Faye ; Chapter 12. Outing Rednecks : slumming, Slick Willie, and Sarah Palin

Epilogue: America's strange breed : the long legacy of white trash.
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