The New York Times bestseller A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016 Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016 Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016 “Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary.” —The New York Times “This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” —O Magazine In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash. “When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg. The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. 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. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. 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–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. 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. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity. 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.
"A history of the class system in America from the colonial era to the present illuminates the crucial legacy of the underprivileged white demographic, citing the pivotal contributions of lower-class white workers in wartime, social policy, and the rise of the Republican Party"--NoveList.
In this landmark book, Nancy Isenberg argues that the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of the American fabric, and reveals how the wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlements to today's hillbillies. 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 white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics - a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society; they are now offered up as entertainment in reality TV shows, and the label is applied to celebrities ranging from Dolly Parton to Bill Clinton. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the centre of major political debates over the character of the American identity. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society - where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility - and forces a nation to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class.
From the author of White Trash, a controversial challenge to the views of the Founding Fathers offered by Ron Chernow and David McCullough Lin-Manuel Miranda's play "Hamilton" has reignited interest in the founding fathers; and it features Aaron Burr among its vibrant cast of characters. With Fallen Founder, Nancy Isenberg plumbs rare and obscure sources to shed new light on everyone's favorite founding villain. The Aaron Burr whom we meet through Isenberg's eye-opening biography is a feminist, an Enlightenment figure on par with Jefferson, a patriot, and—most importantly—a man with powerful enemies in an age of vitriolic political fighting. Revealing the gritty reality of eighteenth-century America, Fallen Founder is the authoritative restoration of a figure who ran afoul of history and a much-needed antidote to the hagiography of the revolutionary era.
White trash. The phrase conjures up images of dirty rural folk who are poor, ignorant, violent, and incestuous. But where did this stigmatizing phrase come from? And why do these stereotypes persist? Matt Wray answers these and other questions by delving into the long history behind this term of abuse and others like it. Ranging from the early 1700s to the early 1900s, Not Quite White documents the origins and transformations of the multiple meanings projected onto poor rural whites in the United States. Wray draws on a wide variety of primary sources—literary texts, folklore, diaries and journals, medical and scientific articles, social scientific analyses—to construct a dense archive of changing collective representations of poor whites. Of crucial importance are the ideas about poor whites that circulated through early-twentieth-century public health campaigns, such as hookworm eradication and eugenic reforms. In these crusades, impoverished whites, particularly but not exclusively in the American South, were targeted for interventions by sanitarians who viewed them as “filthy, lazy crackers” in need of racial uplift and by eugenicists who viewed them as a “feebleminded menace” to the white race, threats that needed to be confined and involuntarily sterilized. Part historical inquiry and part sociological investigation, Not Quite White demonstrates the power of social categories and boundaries to shape social relationships and institutions, to invent groups where none exist, and to influence policies and legislation that end up harming the very people they aim to help. It illuminates not only the cultural significance and consequences of poor white stereotypes but also how dominant whites exploited and expanded these stereotypes to bolster and defend their own fragile claims to whiteness.
With this book, Nancy Isenberg illuminates the origins of the women's rights movement. Rather than herald the singular achievements of the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, she examines the confluence of events and ideas--before and after 1848--that, in her view, marked the real birth of feminism. Drawing on a wide range of sources, she demonstrates that women's rights activists of the antebellum era crafted a coherent feminist critique of church, state, and family. In addition, Isenberg shows, they developed a rich theoretical tradition that influenced not only subsequent strains of feminist thought but also ideas about the nature of citizenship and rights more generally. By focusing on rights discourse and political theory, Isenberg moves beyond a narrow focus on suffrage. Democracy was in the process of being redefined in antebellum America by controversies over such volatile topics as fugitive slave laws, temperance, Sabbath laws, capital punishment, prostitution, the Mexican War, married women's property rights, and labor reform--all of which raised significant legal and constitutional questions. These pressing concerns, debated in women's rights conventions and the popular press, were inseparable from the gendered meaning of nineteenth-century citizenship.
A provocative analysis of the historically pivotal friendship between the third and fourth presidents offers insight into their complex characters while presenting a sobering assessment of how politics were conducted in the country's early years.
Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northeast Mississippi
Author: Charles C. Bolton
Publisher: Duke University Press
In Poor Whites of the Antebellum South, Charles C. Bolton gives a distinct voice to one of the most elusive groups in the society of the Old South. Bolton's detailed examination reveals much about the lives of these landless white tenants and laborers and their relationship to yeoman farmers, black slaves, free blacks and elite whites. Providing a provocative analysis of the failure of the Jeffersonian "yeoman ideal" of democracy in white-majority areas, this book also shows how poor whites represented a more significant presence on the political, economic, and social landscape than previously had been thought. Looking at two specific regions--the "settled" central piedmont of North Carolina and the "frontier" of northeast Mississippi--Bolton describes how poor whites played an important, though circumscribed, role in the local economy. Dependent on temporary employment, they represented a troubling presence in a society based on the principles of white independence and black slavery. Although perceived by southern leaders as a threat, poor whites, Bolton argues, did not form a political alliance with either free or enslaved blacks because of numerous factors including white racism, kinship ties, religion, education, and mobility. A concluding discussion of the crisis of 1860-61 examines the rejection of secession by significant numbers of poor whites, as well as the implications for their future as the Old South turned toward the new. Poor Whites of the Antebellum South sheds light on a group often neglected in southern history. It is an important contribution that will be of interest to all students and historians of the American South.
"The founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and columnist forThe Atlantic describes how white Protestant Christians have declined in influence and power since the 1990s and explores the effect this has had on America,"--NoveList.
Summary of White Trash by Nancy Isenberg Includes Analysis Preview: White Trash by historian Nancy Isenberg is a riveting chronicle of class in America as explored through the role and the plight of the white underclass from the days of colonial settlers to the present. Despite the founders' declaration that "all men are created equal," the reality of life in America has continuously told a different story. With careful research, Isenberg reviews the popular American myth of equality for all and illustrates how poor whites, or "white trash," have traditionally been a much-derided, marginalized part of American society. Class hierarchy traces back to America's earliest history. Contrary to the myth that American colonial settlers were either enterprising businessmen or devout Christians fleeing religious persecution, the majority were actually economically challenged outcasts or social burdens that the English were happy to be rid of. Many were criminals, vagrants, and orphans who then became indentured servants with no landowning rights. Thus, from... PLEASE NOTE: This is key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Inside this Instaread Summary of White Trash by Nancy Isenberg Includes Analysis Overview of the Book Important People Key Takeaways Analysis of Key Takeaways About the Author With Instaread, you can get the key takeaways, summary and analysis of a book in 15 minutes. We read every chapter, identify the key takeaways and analyze them for your convenience. Visit our website at instaread.co.
Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, members of the professional elite—journalists, managers, and establishment politicians—are on the outside looking in, left to argue over the reasons. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having “something approaching rock star status” by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness. Williams explains that many people have conflated “working class” with “poor”—but the working class is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. They often resent the poor and the professionals alike. But they don’t resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality. Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities—just with more money. While white working-class motivations are often dismissed as racist or xenophobic, Williams shows that they have their own class consciousness. White Working Class is a blunt, bracing narrative that sketches a nuanced portrait of millions of people who have proven to be a potent political force. For anyone stunned by the rise of populist, nationalist movements, wondering why so many would seemingly vote against their own economic interests, or simply feeling like a stranger in their own country, White Working Class will be a convincing primer on how to connect with a crucial set of workers—and voters.
Originally published in 1967, this book analyses the method by which historical evidence is built up and compares the nature of historical proof with that of other disciplines such as the law and natural sciences. It examines an extraordinary series of forgeries and distortions from the False Decretals to the biographies of Lytton Strachey, as well as discussing how an historical reputation such as that enjoyed by Judge Jefferies was created.
Thirty-six major contemporary writers examine life in a deeply divided America--including Anthony Doerr, Ann Patchett, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Joyce Carol Oates, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Russo, Eula Bliss, Karen Russell, and many more America is broken. You don't need a fistful of statistics to know this. Visit any city, and evidence of our shattered social compact will present itself. From Appalachia to the Rust Belt and down to rural Texas, the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest stretches to unimaginable chasms. Whether the cause of this inequality is systemic injustice, the entrenchment of racism in our culture, the long war on drugs, or immigration policies, it endangers not only the American Dream but our very lives. In Tales of Two Americas, some of the literary world's most exciting writers look beyond numbers and wages to convey what it feels like to live in this divided nation. Their extraordinarily powerful stories, essays, and poems demonstrate how boundaries break down when experiences are shared, and that in sharing our stories we can help to alleviate a suffering that touches so many people.
The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality
Author: Nancy Isenberg,Andrew Burstein
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Category: Biography & Autobiography
How the father and son presidents fought the authoritarianism inherent in our democracy and foresaw the rise of the cult of personality, co-authored by the author of White Trash. The second and sixth presidents of the United States were brilliant, prickly politicians and arguably the most independently minded of the Founding Fathers. Distrustful of blind allegiance to a political party, they brought a healthy skepticism of a brand-new system of government to the country's first 50 years. They were unpopular for their fears of the potential for demagoguery lurking in democracy, and--in a twist reminiscent of twenty-first century politics--they warned against, but were unable to stop, the populist appeal of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. In a bold recasting of the Adams' historical roles, The Problem of Democracy is a major critique of the ways in which their prophetic warnings have been systematically ignored over the centuries. It's also an intimate family drama filled with the gritty conduct of early American politics. Burstein and Isenberg make sense of the presidents' somewhat iconoclastic, highly creative engagement with America's political and social realities. By taking the temperature of American democracy, from its heated origins through multiple upheavals, the authors reveal the tensions, dangers, and weaknesses that have been present since the beginning--and provide a clear-eyed look at the very real potential for the rise of authoritarianism in our country.
The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders
Author: Bernard Bailyn
Two time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Bernard Bailyn has distilled a lifetime of study into this brilliant illumination of the ideas and world of the Founding Fathers. In five succinct essays he reveals the origins, depth, and global impact of their extraordinary creativity. The opening essay illuminates the central importance of America’s provincialism to the formation of a truly original political system. In the chapters following, he explores the ambiguities and achievements of Jefferson’s career, Benjamin Franklin’s changing image and supple diplomacy, the circumstances and impact of the Federalist Papers, and the continuing influence of American constitutional thought throughout the Atlantic world. To Begin the World Anew enlivens our appreciation of how America came to be and deepens our understanding of the men who created it. From the Trade Paperback edition.
More than 200 recipes and 45 full-color photographs celebrate 25 years of good eatin’ in this original regional Southern cooking classic. A quarter-century ago, while many were busy embracing the sophisticated techniques and wholesome ingredients of the nouvelle cuisine, one Southern loyalist lovingly gathered more than 200 recipes—collected from West Virginia to Key West—showcasing the time-honored cooking and hospitality traditions of the white trash way. Ernie Mickler’s much-imitated sugarsnap-pea prose style accompanies delicacies like Tutti’s Fancy Fruited Porkettes, Mock-Cooter Stew, and Oven-Baked Possum; stalwart sides like Bette’s Sister-in-Law’s Deep-Fried Eggplant and Cracklin’ Corn Pone; waste-not leftover fare like Four-Can Deep Tuna Pie and Day-Old Fried Catfish; and desserts with a heavy dash of Dixie, like Irma Lee Stratton’s Don’t-Miss Chocolate Dump Cake and Charlotte’s Mother’s Apple Charlotte.
Property, Social Place, and Gender in Cities of the Low Countries, 1300-1550
Author: Martha C. Howell
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Category: Social Science
Medieval Douai was one of the wealthiest cloth towns of Flanders, and it left an enormous archive documenting the personal financial affairs of its citizens—wills, marriage agreements, business contracts, and records of court disputes over property rights of all kinds. Based on extensive research in this archive, this book reveals how these documents were produced in a centuries-long effort to regulate—and ultimately to redefine—property and gender relations. At the center of the transformation was a shift from a marital property regime based on custom to one based on contract. In the former, a widow typically inherited her husband's property; in the latter, she shared it with or simply held it for his family or offspring. Howell asks why the law changed as it did and assesses the law's effects on both social and gender meanings but she insists that the reform did not originate in general dissatisfaction with custom or a desire to disempower widows. Instead, it was born in a complex economic, social and cultural history during which Douaisiens gradually came to think about both property and gender in new ways.