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Rainbow Pie: A Memoir of Redneck America [Paperback]

Joe Bageant
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010
As Obama's triumphant 'Yes we can' continues to reverberate, it's tempting to believe that a new era of opportunity has dawned. But there still are several million dirt-poor, disgruntled Americans for whom 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.

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

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846272572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846272578
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

JOE BAGEANT has been writing about counterculture and popular culture for magazines and newspapers since the 1970s and his online column (www.joebageant.com) has made him a cult hero among gonzo-journalism junkies and progressives. He recently returned to live in his hometown. Deer Hunting With Jesus (Portobello, 2008) was his first book.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Rainbow Pie builds on the strong voice and compassion that Joe Bageant revealed in his first chronicle, Deer Hunting With Jesus, difference being that this book is far more personal. It looks into the roots of his own family's origins from the start of the 20th century, how they survived, thrived, then adapted to the post-50s newer, faster commodity world. There is a lot of sadness here, yet its not sappy or sentimental - JB sees with a clear eye the true strengths of self-sufficiency in the context of West Virginia before ultracommmerce really got a stranglehold on the windpipe of Western Civilisation. In short, cannot recommend this highly enough. Anecdotal yet utterly relevant - get it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Brothers 3 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
A great book which sometimes makes you want to hang your head and weep. Two brothers growing up on a farm in West Virginia. One is the author's father who works hard all his life, never gets ahead, never has a vacation and dies at age 63. One is his uncle who is deaf, and never gets the education he should have had, therefore never learns to talk, read, write or sign, is forever locked into himself, never has a job or leaves the farm, but learns to plant crops and look after himself when his parents are gone. Lives well into his eighties. Which one is the worse off?

There are many other aspects to this book which unfortunately does not hold out much hope for redemption or improvement in the lives of millions of Americans, the "underclass". Still this book says what needs to be said and few have had the guts to say. Keep up the good work and lets hope you are with us for some to come, Joe.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I finished Joe's previous book, "Deer Hunting with Jesus," which absolutely knocked me flat with it's hilarious and on-target brilliance, and immediately went to the bookstore to get this. I was surprised and nonplussed to be told it wasn't available through any American bookseller. I ordered it from Amazon UK, and am wondering if it/he is being blacklisted in the U.S.?! I have just started it, but hope to share it with as many people as possible. If anyone can tell me why I had to turn to a bookseller abroad to get it, I'd really be interested in knowing! I will do another review when I've finished it. Let me just say that he is a fantastic writer and I hope he gains a much wider audience - his voice and perspective are EXACTLY what America needs right now. I think he has the power, if enough people hear him, to reconnect the "progressive" movement with the working class and create REAL change here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking stuff... 7 Jun 2013
By Scottie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, in fact, I can't remember how long it is since I read a book that I couldn't wait to get back to each night but this was certainly one of those. Author Joe Bageant takes us on a beautiful and often bitter sweet journey through his family's history in the farmlands of Virginia. Recounting tales of his kin folk and town folk and painting a vivid picture of how life was then and how 'big business' swept in and changed this way of life drastically and aggressively leaving much damage and disillusion in its wake.

Despite being sub headed as a 'memoir', Badgeants book is more of a launch pad for controversial and heated debate around current U.S. politics and the forgotten 'underclass' of society that has been created by heavy capitalism in American agriculture, pointing out how huge numbers of the population have been guided into a life of poverty and poor education. Heavy stuff? Indeed it is but once masterfully weaved in and out of his beautiful recollections of days gone by, Badgeant not only makes this an easier read but also helps us to see a much bigger picture.

I think the autor may be unfairly labeled by some readers as un-patriotic or a 'commy' but my opinion couldn't be further from that. I felt like I was getting to know a man who came from the 'white trash' stereotype background and has seen huge change in society, he cares very much about his country and the people who live in it. For any strong opinions that are put forward there are often equally as many moments of self reflection and even regrets. It feels like a very honest and well meaning book. At times it seemed strangely familiar to me, coming from a coal mining family and having seen similar changes and hardships where I grew, up but even without that link, Badgeant transports you to the locations and eras effortlessly with his words.
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