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

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Kirsten Potter

15 Hours 7 Minutes

Tantor Media

June 2016

Audio Book Summary

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.

In White Trash, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society. 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. 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.

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.

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  • johnny dubose

    a very woke book, while has historical truths very slanted in views.

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  • Kenneth A.

    Just another racist, anti-white, anti Southern Leftist tract!!!! Full of basic Leftist stereotypes about white people, particularly Southern whites, that is far from the mark of understanding poor white people. Just an excuse to use racial slurs against a group of people, without fear of being "canceled" for being "racist". Very condescending book, full of lies and vitriol against poor, white folks. If you want to find out the truth about "white trash", read "The Redneck Manifesto" by Jim Goad. This is just racist garbage. A waste of time!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    preachy. snobby. typical. I regret my purchase of this one.

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  • Michael A.

    Love how white trash from the South who can't accept the truth they've been played since Day One of this country hate this book.

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  • Brian O.

    intriguing book and premise but incredibly long winded. It reads more like a text book than anything else, pretty dry. It doesn't help that the narrator rarely has any inflection in her voice. with some inflection and emotion the long winded book would be much more interesting.

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  • Daryl O.

    A scholarly, and not condemning, look at the lower classes in America. A very thoroughly researched work. Reading this is somewhat like taking a college course, but I feel the better for a more complete understanding of the history of our culture. Many people now days are afraid to confront the details of our past, but when we challenge ourselves to do so, we can move forward toward creating a much brighter future.

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  • Doug G.

    A better title would be literary trash.

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