Deer Hunting With Jesus

Guns, Votes, Debt And Delusion In Redneck America

Joe Bageant

Published: 1 August 2008
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 288 pages
ISBN: 9781846271526


Welcome to Winchester, Virginia: a town populated almost entirely by the undereducated, the overweight and the dirt-poor. Patsy Cline may have been born here, but she got out pretty fast - for most of the inhabitants, life is a constant, unwinnable scrabble over mortgage repayments, loan debts and healthcare bills, and the only avenues of escape are a tour of duty in Iraq, alcohol, overeating or God. Joe Bageant knows these people well because he is one of them, and in this riveting journey around the factories, the rifle ranges, the bars and the lots of his hometown, he shows us how white working-class Americans have been exploited and betrayed by the very people - in Big Business and in the Republican government - they put their faith in. These people are not stupid white men (and women), but they are misled.

About the author

Image of Joe Bageant

Born in Winchester, Virginia, Joe Bageant served in the US Navy during the Vietnam era and then moved west, living in communes and hippie school buses in and around Boulder, Colorado. In 1971, he began writing about countercultural figures such as Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and Hunter S. Thompson. More recently, his online column ( made him a cult hero among gonzo-journalism junkies and progressives and, as a commentator on the politics of class in America, he was featured in documentary films in Britain, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, and Sweden. He was the author of two books - both published by Portobello - Deer Hunting With Jesus Guns, Votes, Debt And Delusion In Redneck America (2008) which was adapted for the theatre, and Rainbow Pie: A Memoir of Redneck America (2010). Joe died in March 2011, aged 64. More about the author


‘[Deer Hunting with Jesus] succeeds on righteous anger, and Bageant is surely correct in arguing that the Republicans have captured the white working class because the Democrats no longer speak for them ... Deer Hunting with Jesus speaks form the heart’ Safraz Manzoor



‘[A] humorous and perceptive guide to people who are so protective of their "values" the mere thought of a gay marriage sends them into the arms of economic raptors bent on exploiting them until the pips squeak’ Colin Waters

‘[A] witty insightful and frightening exposé into a weird world’

‘[O]ne of those books that change the way you think of the US and the tarnished American dream ... a lovesick and frequently hilarious rant about the poor, hopeless working-class Americans ... The most striking achievement of Deer Hunting with Jesus ... is that [the author] somehow channels his raucous fury into a poignant and profoundly sympathetic account of the cradle-to-grave miseries that befall the poor white townsfolk of Winchester’

‘A gonzo rip through Virginia that challenges liberals to court the Jesus-loving, Bud-drinking poor ... A good read’

‘An excellent book’

‘Bageant gives a damning exposé of how those in charge of the world's most affluent nation are creating a polarised generation of American haves and have-nots ... [A] ruthless, compulsive read’ Alex Donohue

‘His anecdotal account of his home town matches Michael Moore's polemical rage with Studs Terkel's vivid feel for everyday people, showing how the white working class have been betrayed by the people they misguidedly put their faith in. He also tells a mighty fine chimpanzee boxing story’

‘I suppose this book is a polemic, but unlike many such it is hugely readable. The author has a great turn of phrase and ferrets out some truly memorable characters to illustrate his narrative. The result is a fine piece of old-fashioned journalism that is both original and thought-provoking ... An angry and brilliant book’ George Rosie

‘Joe Bageant argues that class is very much alive in the US ... What makes this book especially valuable is that every word is motivated by rage, rather than righteous indignation’ Lynsey Hanley

‘Joe Bageant exposes the vast social gulf in America, and how the poor are exploited and betrayed by those for whom they work and vote: big business and government ... is an emotive and evocative exposé of the "dead-end social construction that all but guarantees failure"’ Anita Sethi

‘With the lacerating fury of Hunter S. Thompson, Bageant's bitingly funny report can at times make Michael Moore seem tame’

‘Written with passion and panache. Unlike most accounts of redneck , "white trash" America, Bageant writes about his own people ... his identification with the folk of Winchester, Virginia gives a human immediacy you will not find in Adorno’

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