Nancy Isenberg: White Trash

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In her groundbreaking history of the class system in the United States, Nancy Isenberg, takes on the comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.

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Penguin Random House
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Product description

The New York Times Bestseller, with a new preface from the author.

In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in the United States, Nancy Isenberg, co-author of The Problem of Democracy, takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement in America to today's hillbillies. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about the United States' supposedly class-free society–where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility.