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Publisher's Summary

A physician reveals how right-wing backlash policies have mortal consequences - even for the white voters they promise to help.

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Esquire and the Boston Globe.

In the era of Donald Trump, many lower- and middle-class white Americans are drawn to politicians who pledge to make their lives great again. But as Dying of Whiteness shows, the policies that result actually place white Americans at ever-greater risk of sickness and death.

Physician Jonathan M. Metzl's quest to understand the health implications of "backlash governance" leads him across America's heartland. Interviewing a range of everyday Americans, he examines how racial resentment has fueled progun laws in Missouri, resistance to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee, and cuts to schools and social services in Kansas. And he shows these policies' costs: increasing deaths by gun suicide, falling life expectancies, and rising dropout rates. White Americans, Metzl argues, must reject the racial hierarchies that promise to aid them but in fact lead our nation to demise.

©2019 Jonathan M. Metzl (P)2019 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Dying of Whiteness

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Disappointing! Not what I wanted or expected

I thought and hoped that this would be about how politics took advantage of some people's willingness to embrace conflicting and contradictory ideas - that they were "dying of whiteness" because their beliefs and dogma kept them stuck in a rut. Unfortunately, it's really a repudiation of the policies that are keeping so many people in poverty and ill health. As a psychiatrist, I was hoping his book would be more social than political, and take a deeper look and hopefully offer an explanation of why some people are willing to act against their own self interests and hold on to that dogma and those beliefs (including racism) with such tenacity that it might kill them - or at least shorten their lives and worsen their health. Sadly, it's not. Maybe interesting, but not enlightening.....I didn't gain a better understanding of any of the people (or types of people) he talked to and talks about in his book.

44 people found this helpful

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Captivating, Concerning, and Sad

I breezed through this audiobook, as it absolutely commanded my attention. It’s topical, well-researched, and thorough.

While there are some points that might be mildly off-putting to right-leaning ideologues, I think that the core message is pretty universal if one is willing to listen and consider policy despite partisanship for a moment.

The narrator was fine overall, but he strangely butchered the pronunciation of a number of words.

14 people found this helpful

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Interesting perspective

As a person of color hearing the perspectives that drive some of the policies analyzed here was simultaneously difficult and enlightening. It is not often I get to be a fly on the wall for the nuanced thoughts of the folks that feel as though their voices are being drowned out and their privileges stripped away.

9 people found this helpful

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Recovering from White Privilege

I shall never understand the arrogance of humanity on Earth. That one man is greater than another.
I've had a easy uneventful life, starting it in what I always have...White Trash... It was about our values, it was what we and our neighbors held onto and what we refused to accept as progress.
That said, all United States Citizens, no matter what age 18 over, should be knowledged on their importance in voting, and the importance of first hand knowledge instead of gossip about candidates and issues.
Citizens must get their heads in the game, or they will continue to lose to Politics.

6 people found this helpful

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WOW! This one is a must

The detailed information & statistical data was one thing, but the fact that many of the stories were so recent gave it a different vibe altogether. The level of hate one harbors for people that do not even care is something I will struggle with for many years to come. This is a very good & easy book that I will read again. Just advised my volunteer group & several friends & family members to take a look at this one! We are all American's & many of us are Veteran's too & we want to live here together in peace at the end of the day. ♡ Thank you for this one "speaker JMM"

23 people found this helpful

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Very interesting

Vast majority of the people who need to read this, will not . They will be certain that it’s “fake news.

29 people found this helpful

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A thinly veiled anti-gun and anti republicans book.

I was a bit disappointed in the book. The title and some of the content had a lot of potential but in the end it was merely a soapbox for anti-gun rhetoric. i’m an NRA member but believes that we should have more “sensible”gun laws, the author could have been much more persuasive if he wasn’t so extreme in his anti-gun view. His arguments we are so one sided in regards to the gun control that i missed the whole point of the book.

If I had to give some advice to the author I would say: Rewrite the book but focus on Kansas and Missouri. There’s more than enough material there to make your point. Also keep your political views out of the limelight. It ostracizes have your audience and doesn’t hold up well in the test of time.

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I've asked this question.



It's a question I've asked myself many times.
Why do poor/working class white people vote against their own interests? Turns out (at least from Metzl's perspective) they're not only voting against their own interests, but their very lives.
I implore all to read this book in some form to get a better understanding.

29 people found this helpful

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Hate the title love the content

I think the title of this book is so off putting that it will discourage the people who need to read it the most from reading it. The content is data driven and awesome.

14 people found this helpful

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Dying of Whiteness

It's first.. I hope among many others to start the analysis of holding people in check hurts the "holder".
Biology, Anthropology, History of Civilizations, Genetics, and more, have determined, when free of most social bias, that humans are much like one another, with the same capacities..
If whiteness was absolutely superior no civil law would ever have been necessary to preserve the fact.
Certainly, hurting oneself in order to preserve an artificial construct is beyond reason.

A good read..

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-10-20

Empathetic Understanding

Before I listened to this book, as a citizen from the UK, I could not understand the mentality of Americans who were pro-gun and treated any healthcare reform as “dirty socialism”. This book helped me to understand what has created this mentality and why America is in the mess it is in.

Would recommend this books content but the narrator had me struggling at points. His voice was too flat and I had to rewind a few times because my mind wandered off.

2 people found this helpful