Joe Bageant’s new book, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir, is finally available in the US. In his previous book, Deer Hunting With Jesus, he returned to the small redneck town he was raised in and described how the white underclass there and elsewhere has been abandoned by the Democratic Party and is now Republican. Rainbow Pie continues the theme, as it explores social class in the United States.
Bageant is now a leftie journalist in his 60’s. But he never condescends. These are his people, they are his tribe.
Set between 1950 and 1963, Rainbow Pie is a coming-of-age memoir discussing one of America’s most taboo subjects — social class. Combining recollection, accounts, and analysis, the book leans on Maw, Pap, Ony Mae, and other members of this rambunctious Scots-Irish Bageant family to chronicle the often-heartbreaking post-war journey of 22 million rural Americans into the cities, where they became the foundation of a permanent white underclass. Telling the stories of the gun-owning, uninsured, underemployed white tribes inhabiting America’s heartlands, Rainbow Pie offers an intimate look at what was lost in the orchestrated post-war shift from an agricultural to an urban consumer society.