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White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of…

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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1,0584811,833 (3.58)71



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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
I was very impressed by the author's scathing critique of the myths surrounding our American Dream. Her extensively annotated bibliography is particularly helpful in tracing other works and verifying the accuracy of what she alleges has historically been a deliberate attempt to create and maintain a rigid class system in this nation. This book is a must-read for all Americans.
Read, Write, Dream, Walk !


March 27th, 12018 HE ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
Is the US a "classless society? This book explores the concepts of class and how politics and culture shape views of members of society, especially the poor. Very interesting read. ( )
  addunn3 | Mar 4, 2019 |
An excellent book everyone should read. With incredible scholarship she clearly explains how the Emperor Wears No Clothes. It is sad an imminent historian must do this much work to prove and document that class politics rules and always has. Class and identity, as manipulated by those truly in power, rule us now as the aristocracy in Europe did when "our" country was first populated by Europeans. The book follows the timeline of American history and tells the story time and again. We need and deserve an educated and discerning population who can resist the manipulation by voting for new solutions in governance, economics and culture. This books proves this proposition beyond challenge (unless you are in the elite then it just shows . . . well . . . you know). ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
I read bits and pieces of this book to get through it quickly. My mother always talked about the white trash, low class, kids that were socially off limits to her, growing up in a small SC town. As an adult, she realized that they were just very poor, uneducated, ill mannered, and often hungry.
The concept and reality of white trash is explored in great detail by the author, who offers a history of the US that is largely ignored in history books. As such, it is a detailed and fascinating read. If you read it in pieces, as I did, don't exclude the final chapter - it walks us right up to the 99% disenchanted folks who have elected out 44th president. ( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
There is a lot of interesting material here, but not as much analysis as I'd hoped, and what is there is fairly shallow. That's a consequence of trying to cover 400 years in 320 pages, I think -- it would have been a stronger book if she'd focused on the twentieth century. The strongest sections of the book cover the New Deal; she also has interesting things to say about Elvis, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. (Alas, the pages she devotes to the saga of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker don't offer much that is new.)

I do harbor a secret hope that she will update the book with a chapter that covers this demographic's embrace of "billionaire" Donald Trump. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (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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In memory of Gerda Lerner and Paul Boyer
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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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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670785970, Hardcover)

In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, extending from colonial times to the present, Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing––if occasionally entertaining––poor white trash
The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.
            Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 06 May 2016 03:46:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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.… (more)

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