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Deer Hunting with Jesus: Guns, Votes, Debt and Delusion in Redneck America Paperback – 1 Aug 2008


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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: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Aug 2008
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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.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lynsey on 29 Aug 2008
Format: Paperback
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By thehighrise on 28 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ocurseu on 28 May 2011
Format: Paperback
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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