A raucous, truth-telling look at the white working poor-and why they hate liberalism.
Deer Hunting with Jesus is web columnist Joe Bageant’s report on what he learned when he moved back to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia, which-like countless American small towns-is fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass. 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."
In this trenchant, aggravating, humorous, and heartbreaking book, Bageant, whose blog has a bit of a cult following, uses a combination of political commentary, reporting, and storytelling to explore what he describes as an unacknowledged class war in the United States. Returning after 30 years to the "dirt-poor" neighborhoods of his native Winchester, VA, Bageant examines the lives of the working poor using the stories of his friends and neighbors. Through these bleak tales, he paints a picture of a permanent underclass exploited by the Right and forgotten or even disdained, by the Left. Bageant explores, among other things, gun culture, Christian fundamentalism, predatory mortgage lending, illiteracy, outsourcing, and the decline of the American healthcare system. Written as a wake-up and rallying call for progressives, the work is decidedly partisan. Bageant's writing is witty, bilious, tender, and cruel by turns. Though his style often engages, it also alienates. His perspective is so fresh and his message so important that it is frustrating that many readers may be put off by his approach. The book would have benefited from closer editing; it is a slim volume but could stand to be leaner still. Recommended for collections with a current affairs focus, especially those in public libraries.