This cultural history tells the story of the label "white trash" in American society and how the stereotyping of many poor white people living in rural areas as "rednecks" and "hillbillies" has shifted over the years, existing as a source of shame and in recent times, being reclaimed in a humorous or nostalgic form, as a source of pride. Isenberg's work is thoughtful and meticulously researched, exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting!) in the wide range of sources it analyzes. Tracing these stereotypes all the way back to the American Revolutionary Wars, the author highlights how economic and social class structures are substantial factors even in an apparently meritocratic society without aristocratic titles. There are some excellent insights here and much of the history here provides a useful window into current events in American politics.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)