Rainbow Pie

A Memoir Of Redneck America

Joe Bageant

Published: 6 October 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 320 pages
ISBN: 9781846272585


While Obama's triumphant 'Yes we can' continued to reverberate, it was tempting to believe that a new era of opportunity had dawned. But for several million dirt-poor, disgruntled Americans the possibility of change is as far away as ever. These are the gun-owning, donut dunkin', uninsured, underemployed rednecks who occupy America's heartland: the ones who never got a slice of the pie during the good times, and the ones who have been hit hardest by the economic slump. Theirs is a hard-luck story that goes back generations and Joe Bageant tells it here with poignancy, indignation, and tinder-dry wit. Through the tale of his own rambunctious Scots-Irish family, starting with his grandparents Maw and Pap, Bageant traces the post-war migration of the rural poor to the sprawling suburbs where they found, not the affluence they'd dreamed of, but isolation and deprivation, and the bitter futility of hope. What do the white working poor of America want, and what does America want for them?

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 (www.joebageant.com) 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


Rainbow Pie is touching in the way that Thoreau touches us, in its ideas about place and "abidance," natural and superficial worlds.’



Rainbow Pie has lessons that are ignored at our peril on both sides of the Atlantic.’

‘A terse, provocative book ... his words are eloquent and heartfelt, taut with anger and horribly persuasive.’

‘Equal parts social commentary and evocative memoir, this book exposes the vast and growing inequity between the economic mismanagers and the working poor in the US ... Don't presume this is in any way dour soapboxery: Bageant is an effortless humourist. And his reminiscences lead to moments of sheer literary pleasure.’

‘Taken together, Bageant's two books provide salutary, hilarious and at times harrowing reading, with more than a few lessons of caution. Compassionate and brilliantly written.’

‘The theme that runs through this memoir is the evolution of the white underclass... This is their tale, told by one who was there. And it is told with great compassion, in simple, clear prose that has the immediacy of speech ... Shades of Studs Terkel.’

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