After thirty years spent scratching together a middle-class life out of a "dirt-poor" childhood, Joe Bageant moved back to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia, where he realized that his family and neighbors were the very people who carried George W. Bush to victory. That was ironic, because Winchester, like countless American small towns, is fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass. Two in five of the people in his old neighborhood do not have high school diplomas. Nearly everyone over fifty has serious health problems, and many have no health care. Credit ratings are low or nonexistent, and alcohol, overeating, and Jesus are the preferred avenues of escape. A raucous mix of storytelling and political commentary, Deer Hunting with Jesus is Bageant's report on what he learned by coming home. He writes of his childhood friends who work at factory jobs that are constantly on the verge of being outsourced; the mortgage and credit card rackets that saddle the working poor with debt, i.e., "white trashonomics"; the ubiquitous gun culture--and why the left doesn't get it; Scots Irish culture and how it played out in the young life of Lynddie England; and the blinkered "magical thinking" of the Christian right. (Bageant's brother is a Baptist pastor who casts out demons.) What it adds up to, he asserts, is an unacknowledged class war. By turns brutal, tender, incendiary, and seriously funny, this book is a call to arms for fellow progressives with little real understanding of "the great beery, NASCAR-loving, church-going, gun-owning America that has never set foot in a Starbucks." Deer Hunting with Jesus is a potent antidote to what Bageant dubs "the American hologram"--the televised, corporatized virtual reality that distracts us from the insidious realities of American life.
Deer hunting with Jesus
dispatches from America's class war
New York : Crown Publishers, c2007.
273 p. ;,25 cm.
American serfs : inside the white ghetto of the working poor
Republican by default : redneck pride and fear in an age of outsourcing
The deep-fried, double-wide lifestyle : whatever it takes, the mortgage racket will put you under your own roof
Valley of the gun : black powder and buckskin in heartland America
The covert kingdom : they plead upon the blood of Jesus for a theocratic state
The ballad of Lynddie England : one foot in Ulster, the other in Iraq
An authorized place to die : the American health care system on life support
American hologram : the apocalypse will be televised.
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Statement of Responsibility:
United States Social conditions 1980-
Social classes United States.