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

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The New York Times bestseller
A New York Times Notable and Critics' Top Book of 2016
Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On
NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016's Great Reads
San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016
Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016

"Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary." --The New York Times

"This eye-opening investigation into our country's entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant." --O Magazine

In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing--if occasionally entertaining--poor white trash.

"When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there's always a chance that the dancing bear will win," says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. 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.

About the Author


Nancy Isenberg is the author of Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr, which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in Biography and won the Oklahoma Book Award for best book in Nonfiction. She is the coauthor, with Andrew Burstein, of Madison and Jefferson. She is the T. Harry Williams Professor of American History at LSU, and writes regularly for Salon.com. Isenberg is the winner of the 2016 Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and was #4 on the 2016 Politico 50 list. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Charlottesville, Virginia.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780670785971
ISBN-10: 0670785970
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: June 21st, 2016
Pages: 480
Language: English

Third Monday in May

 

From the publisher:

"In this richly imaginative debut novel, the first running of the Kentucky Derby serves as the backdrop for a story of what might have been had Abraham Lincoln survived his assassination and lived to retire with Mary to Springfield.  Derby historian Ross R. Moore provides an accurate account of the origins of the famous race, while creating a detailed and entirely plausible world through which the Lincoln's journey to Louisville to meet old friends and to face another deadly threat.  Part horse racing saga, part travelogue, part historical fantasy, part suspense thriller, chock full of sly bits of "stealth history" befitting its educator author, and peopled with memorable characters both real and imaginary, the result is an entertaining and engaging yarn and rewarding read."

Ross R. Moore is an educator, storyteller, and singer-songwriter living in San Diego.  A native of Kentucky where he attended Murray State University and the University of Louisville, he was for several years a museum educator at the Kentucky Derby Museum, sharing the history of the race with visitors. Now he brings this story to a wider audience, drawing upon his knowledge of Derby lore to form the backdrop of this, his first novel.

New Novel about Crawfish Bottom

Book cover: Concerning the Matter of the King of Craw a story by Ron Rhody

Local author, Ron Rhody has written a new novel "Concerning the Matter of the King of Craw" about the infamous John Fallis.

Ron is author of the "Theo" books about Frankfort.

Author Ron Rhody and store owner Lizz Taylor

Ron Rhody was in the store to sign copies of his new book recently.

So we have a limited quantity of signed copies of King of Craw that would make great presents.