Deer Hunting With Jesus

Dispatches From America's Class War

Bageant, Joe

Book - 2007
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Deer Hunting With Jesus
Random House, Inc.
After thirty years spent scratching together a middle-class life out of a “dirt-poor” childhood, Joe Bageant moved back to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia, where he realized that his family and neighbors were the very people who carried George W. Bush to victory. That was ironic, because Winchester, like countless American small towns, is fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass. Two in five of the people in his old neighborhood do not have high school diplomas. Nearly everyone over fifty has serious health problems, and many have no health care. Credit ratings are low or nonexistent, and alcohol, overeating, and Jesus are the preferred avenues of escape.

A raucous mix of storytelling and political commentary, Deer Hunting with Jesus is Bageant’s report on what he learned by coming home. He writes of his childhood friends who work at factory jobs that are constantly on the verge of being outsourced; the mortgage and credit card rackets that saddle the working poor with debt, i.e., “white trashonomics”; the ubiquitous gun culture—and why the left doesn’t get it; Scots Irish culture and how it played out in the young life of Lynddie England; and the blinkered “magical thinking” of the Christian right. (Bageant’s brother is a Baptist pastor who casts out demons.) What it adds up to, he asserts, is an unacknowledged class war. 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.”

Deer Hunting with Jesus is a potent antidote to what Bageant dubs “the American hologram”—the televised, corporatized virtual reality that distracts us from the insidious realities of American life.

Baker & Taylor
A Web columnist describes his return to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia, and his discovery of the permanent underclass that exists in many American small towns, offering a revealing glimpse of the real lives of the invisible working class that exists in a world of taverns, churches, and double-wide trailers. 40,000 first printing.

& Taylor

A Web columnist describes the permanent and largely invisible underclass that resides in many American small towns, examining a section of society that exists in a world of taverns, churches, and double-wide trailers.

Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307339362
Branch Call Number: 305.5097 B
Characteristics: 273 p. ; 25 cm.


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May 02, 2011
  • zbN8MbMu rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I was so impressed with it I am looking forward to reading more of Mr. Bageant's output. I learned a great deal about the people of the US southeast from 'Deer Hunting...' and while I was often entertained and amused by the wonderful writing, I was also informed about life in those parts of the world by someone who loves and despises it; a man who grew up and escaped from it and return.

Aug 28, 2010
  • Tater rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a very good book that goes a long way to explain why the conservative point of view is entrenched among people who have been thoroughly abused by the currently ascendant neoconservative (political)/neoliberal (economic) system. Unfortunately, reading it does not give one hope. Until quality education is extended to all citizens and a generation of working class poor develop the insight and tools to function as citizens in pursuit of betterment, they will be ignoble tools of the establishment. This will not happen in my lifetime.


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