The theme that runs through this memoir is the evolution of the white underclass... This is their tale, told by one who was there. And it is told with great compassion, in simple, clear prose that has the immediacy of speech ... Shades of Studs Terkel.
A terse, provocative book ... his words are eloquent and heartfelt, taut with anger and horribly persuasive.
Equal parts social commentary and evocative memoir, this book exposes the vast and growing inequity between the economic mismanagers and the working poor in the US ... Don't presume this is in any way dour soapboxery: Bageant is an effortless humourist. And his reminiscences lead to moments of sheer literary pleasure.
From the Same Author
Deer Hunting With Jesus
Welcome to Winchester, Virginia: a town populated almost entirely by the undereducated, the overweight and the dirt-poor. Patsy Cline may have been born here, but she got out pretty fast – for most of the inhabitants, life is a constant, unwinnable scrabble over mortgage repayments, loan debts and healthcare bills, and the only avenues of escape are a tour of duty in Iraq, alcohol, overeating or God. Joe Bageant knows these people well because he is one of them, and in this riveting journey around the factories, the rifle ranges, the bars and the lots of his hometown, he shows us how white working-class Americans have been exploited and betrayed by the very people – in Big Business and in the Republican government – they put their faith in. These people are not stupid white men (and women), but they are misled.