We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
White Trash Audiobook

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Regular Price:$31.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as "waste people", "offals", "rubbish", "lazy lubbers", and "crackers". By the 1850s the downtrodden included so-called "clay eaters" and "sandhillers", known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.

In White Trash, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early 19th century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ's Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.

We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation's history. With Isenberg's landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.

©2016 Nancy Isenberg (P)2016 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"This is breathtaking social history and dazzling cultural analysis at its best." (Michael Eric Dyson, author of Holler If You Hear Me)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1807 )
5 star
 (899)
4 star
 (554)
3 star
 (230)
2 star
 (75)
1 star
 (49)
Overall
4.2 (1606 )
5 star
 (811)
4 star
 (460)
3 star
 (205)
2 star
 (83)
1 star
 (47)
Story
4.2 (1623 )
5 star
 (845)
4 star
 (486)
3 star
 (182)
2 star
 (67)
1 star
 (43)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Virgil 10-11-16
    Virgil 10-11-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    215
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "400 Year Head Start Squandered"

    As a person of color and first generation college during the age of affirmative action debates, I am shocked to silence. During these debates I often wondered out loud how my white peers could be first generation college. My grandparents were brutally opressed and enslaved for 400 years, what did their grandparents do with a 400 year head start, that was my question to my peers. In truth I never received an adequate answer. Thanks to White Trash I am in a better position to understand their struggles to rise in the face of class warfare. Now I understand the visceral response to Clinton and Sarah Palin. Now i understand why so many whites hate affirmative action, becuase it tries to remedy the effects of slavery and oppression for ex-slaves while confining the mobility of poor whites, or so it would appear.

    This is a must read book for all humanity, especially for those who are the offspring of former slaves. Having an understanding of class in America will help you understand that we have more in common with our poor white brothers than we would like to admit, mainly the reality that we have all been mislead.

    210 of 229 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael P Spencer 08-22-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Eye-opening"

    Exploring the history of America's White underclass is helpful in understanding the political climate we find ourselves in today. As the attention of progressive politicians turn understandably to issues of racial justice, it's become easier to see why the members of America's disaffected White working-class, who feel increasingly forgotten, are willing to turn to demagogues who promise a return to an American middle-class Utopia that for the most part never really existed.

    The author painstakingly chronicles the trials and tribulations of, and attitudes towards America's White underclass; from our colonial beginnings, through to present-day. It is an eye-opening read, that helped me understand both my own family history and the attitudes of those I disagree with politically.

    48 of 61 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jjd 08-18-16
    jjd 08-18-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wowed by Truth"

    From the African American perspective, I was drawn to this book by it's mere title. By the end of the first chapter I found myself engrossed in the historical foundation of America's diabolical institutions of race and class.

    Quite astoundingly, I was amazed to discover that social Darwinism has not only been relegated to race although it has been known to me and my fellow humans of the Black race, that all are guilty of holding onto family and regional pride.

    What does seem to be inevitable in these days of "occupiers" and "All Lives Matter", Equality here and there is...nothing will change. What has been confirmed for me is that human nature is so deeply ingrained that what seems to be rigged, is rigged indeed.

    53 of 70 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Camp Diva 08-21-16
    Camp Diva 08-21-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Illuminating"

    I was drawn to this book because I wanted to know why this group keep voting against their own interest. The author took me on this journey. Though I don't get the phenomenon, I understand it better .

    40 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marja Yuille 08-21-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Challenge's the notion "American Exceptionalism""
    What did you love best about White Trash?

    The author's account of Classes in America is done in a chronological manner from Jamestown and early New England settlements up through early independence, the civil war, turn of the 20th century, WW1, WW2, LBJ, and today. The book was based on the writings of influential writers, forefathers, politicians, Hollywood and Presidents of the times. The topic challenged the very notion of American exceptionalism.


    22 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Brown 10-06-16
    Larry Brown 10-06-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Waste people are a tradition"

    Why should people relegated to the outside care about the opinions and class structures maintained by those on the inside? White Trash is a survey of history's outcasts in England and the USA. It is not a deep exploration of how these outcasts came to be nor does it offer remedies for their inclusion. You must accept that the indentured servants of Colonial America ended up in the South with slave labor prior to the American Civil War. Little attention is given to waste people anywhere else including the more modern US Rust Belt. White Trash is a worthwhile read if only as a reminder that we live in an unfair world and that Fairytales are rampant in USA history.

    21 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lars Oleson Santa Monica, CA United States 09-13-16
    Lars Oleson Santa Monica, CA United States 09-13-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent history"

    Overall an excellent history, well researched and informative. Some bias becomes more evident from the Nixon administration forward, and the final chapters feel rushed. The conclusion of historical trends is well supported, but the assertion that a consciousness of "breeding" is still prevalent today is mostly supported by extrapolation rather than a thorough assessment of the modern status. Much recent research has examined the role of family and cultural lessons (as distinct from status) on economic outcomes of children. This is largely overlooked and as a result some potential remedies, such as teaching economic literacy and office soft skills in schools are left out, which weakens the final chapter of an otherwise excellent book.

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    richard 05-13-17
    richard 05-13-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "On and on"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really, it's not enjoyable to listen to. It has very little in the way of overview or insight. It seems to contain all the bad things people have called the poor and a review of predudices.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nancy Isenberg again?

    I wouldn't buy a book by her.


    What three words best describe Kirsten Potter’s voice?

    Shrill


    Did White Trash inspire you to do anything?

    Stop listening


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. M. Sullivan Dallas, Texas USA 05-02-17
    J. M. Sullivan Dallas, Texas USA 05-02-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't Buy Audible Version"

    I was really compelled by the description and some of the reviews for this book, but I made the mistake of ordering the Audible version. The narrator's superior tonality sounds so blue blood it destroys the credibility of the text she's reading. Tried a couple times to get through chapter one, but once that impression is made it's dang hard for a poor ole white trash boy like me to shake. Buy a print copy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill J. 05-01-17
    Bill J. 05-01-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "struggled to finish this one."

    The definition of white trash varies throughout the book to the point where the line between the working poor and white trash are blurred. For someone who grew up in a very poor county in the south, there is a distinct difference in the two labels. I was hoping that this would be resolved at the end, but it was not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.