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Deer Hunting with Jesus: Guns, Votes, Debt and Delusion in Redneck America [Paperback]

Joe Bageant
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2008
Welcome to Winchester, Virginia - a town populated almost entirely by the under-educated, the over-weight and the dirt-poor. This is Joe Bageant's hometown, and in this text he shows how white working-class Americans have been exploited and betrayed by the very people - in big business and government - they put their faith in.

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Deer Hunting with Jesus: Guns, Votes, Debt and Delusion in Redneck America + Rainbow Pie: A Memoir of Redneck America
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd; New edition edition (1 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846271525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846271526
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


His anecdotal account of his home town matches Michael Moore's polemical rage with Studs Terkel's vivid feel for everyday people
-- Arena

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other side of Kansas 19 Aug 2008
By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting read. I have read many Thomas Frank books (What's the Matter with Kansas? etc.) and I've enjoyed them; they've helped me understand some of the ideological and intellectual underpinnings of the American right.

Similarly, I have read and enjoyed Selling Your Father's Bones: The Epic Fate of the American West which gives an insight into the history of the development of the American West and the 'red necks' who pushed out the indigenous inhabitants.

Couple these with God's Own Country by Stephen Bates (religious correspondent of the Guardian) and I thought maybe I knew something about what was going on in the Red States. But this book makes it real.

Bageant mixes anecdote and statistic to give a real feel for what it means to be poor and to vote Republican, to explain why guns are such an emotive issue (and why Bowling For Columbine gets nowhere close), why outsourcing is feared but unions rejected, and why religion is so central.

Bageant manages to get Pat Robertson and Ian Paisley into the same sentence, linking present day religious fundamentalism to the original Scots Irish settlers, suggesting direct links between the respective ideologies. And he tells the tale of Lynddie England, the woman who posed for photos standing on the bodies of tortured Iraqis.

Bageant was born and raised in Virginia.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By Lynsey
This is an odd book: at once interesting and readable (apart from the dull chapter on guns) but equally frustrating and, ultimately, unconvincing. As an insight into a side of American life which outsiders rarely see, it fascinates and appalls in equal measure. It has important things to say about guns and their place in parts of American culture (which is particularly interesting to a European, inclined only to see one side of the gun control debate) and was clearly prescient about irresponsible lending to people unable to sustain huge debts.

However, it is let down by an author whose conviction not only of his own rightness but of everyone else's wrongness becomes tedious. Ironcially, by the end of the book Bageant has become like the charismatic preachers he scrutinises: he's a man with tunnel vision and some converting to do. Fair enough, this is polemic; but I find it difficult to believe that Joe alone has seen the light while all of the people in Winchester and the other places he writes about are unthinkingly accepting of a Government/Church line. In presenting his countrymen as done-down dupes Joe is surely becoming what he purports to despise, namely the educated outsider who sees the little people as a homogeneous mass to be manipulated and cajoled.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Bageant - Deer Hunting with Jesus 28 May 2011
By ocurseu
I came across Joe Bageant - a rare American socialist - in some of his articles and I enjoyed his style, vaguely reminiscent of Hunter Thompson & other rare critics of everyday America. Just as I heard of his recent passing, I tried to order the title from Amazon US, both as a book and alternatively as an audio-book. Both were declined for delivery to Cyprus. I didn't understand, why those items were barred from export, but was happy to find them at Amazon UK.

Having now read half of "Deer Hunting..." and having also obtained Joe Bageant's "Rain Bow Pie" from the same source, I could understand US-reluctance to reveal the horrible skeletons hidden in plain sight in many parts of the rural America. Having experiences parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania way back in 1960 I can quite easily empathize with the author about life in big areas of the United States, where most life seems to take place "on the wrong side of the (railroad) tracks".

More recent, extended visits in 1979, in 1988 & in 1996 to many parts of the western states, straddling the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide from Alaska to Arizona, have given me the sense that the America seen and critically depicted by Joe Bageant deserves to be visited - if only in his writing, as it opens one's eyes to a reality none of the main US-media ever cares to reveal. Knowing such views of the US-reality helps to understand official efforts to protect the status-quo, as the alternative may seem too frightening.

I regret Joe Bageant's passing and consider him an authoritative voice - now lost - (whom too few wanted to hear). I recommend his writing, as an honest, sometimes humorous account of reality - not as entertainment. ocurseu
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking 28 Nov 2008
I really wanted to understand, in greater detail, the reason for the solid Republican vote which is still evident in the southern USA and this book looked to be just what I wanted.

Bageant understands the reasons because he was brought up in the south - he can talk to people who live within southern right-wing God-fearing gun-toting communities and gain their trust, and therefore their honest thoughts, on why they vote and live the way they do; the issues and problems these communities face (literacy, history, political marginalisation), and which the liberal elite are quick to dismiss.

Bageant isn't patronising, but neither does he condone the more fanatical wing, and is able to present clear reasoning to the reader without trying to elicit sympathy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of the sometimes visceral divide between North and...
Brilliant account of the sometimes visceral divide between North and South, wealthy and getting by, educated and not so much.
Published 16 days ago by Stephen O'neill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Finally I understand the US!
Published 2 months ago by S Langley
2.0 out of 5 stars Unduly partisan rhetoric spoils interesting observation of working...
There are two books trying to coexist 'Deer Hunting with Jesus', one valuable, the other largely uninteresting. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. Porter
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and enlightening rant about the American hinterland
You'll find didactic answers here to questions I bet you didn't even realise you wanted to ask: why do any poor Americans vote Republican - the party of big business and the rich? Read more
Published 16 months ago by Louise the book worm
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Just love the book , bought it for my husband , he will love reading it I'm sure ,great christmas present
Published 20 months ago by Liz Steer
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener
The is a book about the plight of typical working class small town Americans and the utter lack of control they have in their lives in a so called free country. Read more
Published on 27 April 2012 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it for a better understanding of America
I haven't had much exposure the part of America that Bageant describes. Although I served in the military and come from a family of coal miners on my father's side and have met... Read more
Published on 24 April 2012 by M. Longazel
1.0 out of 5 stars A Rant rather than a Book
I read this as part of a book club. We were keen to get some non-fiction in. I was hoping was going to enlighten me a little more about what 'red neck' life is really about. Read more
Published on 17 May 2011 by Rob-Bow12
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
A superb, insightful, beautifully written book - humane and often funny, often poignant, it offers tremendous insight into the American margins, the largely invisible and voiceless... Read more
Published on 1 May 2011 by Arsenal Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Steeped in anger and compassion
This is a most instructive book about WHY there is such a groundswell of support for Republicanism from the poor whites of America. Read more
Published on 17 April 2011 by Lady Fancifull
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