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30 November 2016

Comments

I've got no desire to read it.

I've heard a couple of interviews with him, and he strikes me as the epitome of the smugly satisfied "self-made" man -- no real credit to the people who helped him, no acknowledgment of the privileges (as a white man) our cultural biases afford him, no recognition that the social safety net he condemns (not just "food stamps", but roads, public schools, clean water, etc.) gave him the space for the choices he's so proud of, and a downright resentment of the people who didn't make such good choices ... almost a *satisfaction* at their suffering... all in all, somebody I didn't want in my head for the time I'd have to give his book.

Hapax,
Whatever you've heard in his interviews is definitely what I was getting in this book, too. But I have a bad attitude these days about the entire "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mythology that seems to be America's answer to every problem.
I don't think you'll be missing anything here. I almost wish I'd spent the time re-reading some Joe Bageant. That guy was awesome.

I think I've mentioned here before that I gave up on this early on because I wanted something with more sociological information, rather than a memoir. I just wasn't convinced his story was the norm. In the bit that I read, he was generalizing from his own experience more than I was comfortable with.

But on a better note, I started reading Lost Girls last night, and so far, it seems full of nuance.

Teresa,
I was okay with the memoir format, because I seem to have read a lot of the more sociological/history books on the subject lately. Have you seen Matthew Desmond's Evicted, Nancy Isenberg's White Trash, and Robert Putnam's Our Kids? (http://www.citizenreader.com/citizen/2015/04/depressing-nonfiction-robert-putnams-our-kids.html)

I haven't read this one yet, but am already disappointed after all the hype. I could use a good Joe Bageant book about now. Will stop back in after I've read.

I haven't read this yet, and I wasn't planning to anyway -- I don't love reading about people who got out of bad circumstances and now despise everyone who didn't manage to do the same. But I also read an article recently in the New Republic that was pretty critical of the author and his bookstrappy ideas. So there you go! They had the same impression you did!

Savvy,
I could always use a good Joe Bageant book! I think it's time to re-read "Deer Hunting with Jesus." Do let me know what you think of this one (on any post, even if the comments on this post are closed).

Jenny!
That was the odd thing. I couldn't quite catch his tone. I don't think he does despise everyone who couldn't "get out"--but all the same there was something off-putting there. I'm going to go read that New Republic article--thanks for pointing me to that!

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