Deer Hunting With Jesus
Dispatches From America's Class WarBook - 2007
A raucous mix of storytelling and political commentary, Deer Hunting with Jesus is Bageant's report on what he learned by coming home. He writes of his childhood friends who work at factory jobs that are constantly on the verge of being outsourced; the mortgage and credit card rackets that saddle the working poor with debt, i.e., "white trashonomics"; the ubiquitous gun culture--and why the left doesn't get it; Scots Irish culture and how it played out in the young life of Lynddie Engl∧ and the blinkered "magical thinking" of the Christian right. (Bageant's brother is a Baptist pastor who casts out demons.) What it adds up to, he asserts, is an unacknowledged class war. By turns brutal, tender, incendiary, and seriously funny, this book is a call to arms for fellow progressives with little real understanding of "the great beery, NASCAR-loving, church-going, gun-owning America that has never set foot in a Starbucks."
Deer Hunting with Jesus is a potent antidote to what Bageant dubs "the American hologram"--the televised, corporatized virtual reality that distracts us from the insidious realities of American life.
From the critics
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Bageant is a keen observer of a population seldom given a sympathetic and complex examination - working-class southern whites. And though his anger is most for the powerful of either political stripe, no one escapes unscathed. Bageant's sense of humor lessens the sting from time to time but his is a despairing voice mostly.
Two essays in particular, from this collection, stand out as excellent - perhaps even *Important*: The Ballad of Lynndie England & The American Hologram.
I advise a reader to take in all the essays in the order the author offers, but if you only have time for a couple, read those two. Good stuff.
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