I am about 1/3 of my way through this well researched book, and what I like about it thus far is that, like Paul Fussell's CLASS we are made aware that there has always been class distinction in our democracy. Clearly, though, the North differs in that from the onset of the nation, education was deemed important for most people. The South, with its agricultural and rural geography did not have a great emphasis upon education. In the north, then, we often refer to trailer trash, designating a low class person. Red necks differ since that name really refers to those working the fields under the sun. This book a great read and will tell the reader a lot about our founding fathers, who were very class conscious. Also a lot to be learned about class and the Civil War.
I have not yet read this book but from this review I know it's one that not only I, but many many others must read. I've seldom had a television in my home but did for 15 yrs or so as we moved from the 20th to the 21st centuries. Since I tended to pick and choose programming to watch, I found relaxation in social comment sitcom reruns (All in the Family, M.A.S.H., WKRP), and otherwise gained from documentaries and what remained of indepth reporting. Since then I've been stunned at "reality TV" fare that's caught popular attention, and greatly distressed at imagining actual reality represented by emergence of "Honey Boo-boo". As a teacher of young children (now retired for over a decade) I found most shocking of all the "enjoyment" the viewing public seemed to find in what to me was unthinkable abuse of a child - and of her family along with her. I've had "poor but resilient rural dwellers" in mind since the days of the remarkable Foxfire series of books that gathered rural southern hill wisdom and skills from interviews conducted by community students. When I learned of Joe Bageant (Deerhunting with Jesus) in more recent years I again thought of the value and humanity of a people so easily mocked or dismissed by dominant cultural attitudes. The mocking and easy dismissal has continued, as has my distress about it. In recent years I've spent countless hours using internet to explore my unanswered questions about American dominate culture - learning about historical beliefs and behaviors of early and subsequent settlers and immigrants that underlie who we are in present time. But I've left deeper study of extreme poverty and lack of opportunity experienced by especially southern rural whites somewhat to the side. Only occasionally have I 'taken a brief stab at' discovering what I've caught hints of as the reality - from immigration out of Europe (UK primarily?), and since, and continuing. My questions have remained like an empty space in my thoughts. I speak up against vilification, but have lacked research to be as forceful as I have felt I should be. I believe Isenberg's book is very likely to give me - and the mindful reading public - and the subject people themselves - what has needed to be understood and expressed for a very very long time.
My County is Poor and Remote. Fracking Companies Think They Can Abuse It.