Rainbow Pie: A Memoir of Redneck America
Jo Bageant, Portobello Books 2011
While Obama’s triumphant ‘Yes we can’ continued to reverberate, it was tempting to believe that a new era of opportunity had dawned. But for several million dirt-poor, disgruntled Americans 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. What do the white working poor of America want, and what does America want for them?
[Production: 4 colour, laser foil]
The cover photograph was shot in Salton Sea, California - here's a great short film that tells some of the story of this eerie place: