White Trash by Nancy Isenberg

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Rate: 3/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers): Whenever I encounter people reading in public, you better believe I go in full stalker mode trying to sneak a peak at the title of the book that the poor unknowing soul has their nose imbedded.  One such sleuthful episode took place, on our ferry back from Dry Tortugas National Park whereupon I determined the title of the book one of my fellow passengers was reading to be White Trash. Due to growing up in a very rural community, upon seeing the title I did the one thing any book lover should never do and promptly judged a book by the cover, feeling both defensive and insulted. As such, I promptly disregarded this book as material obviously not worth my time. Fast forwarding a few weeks, I came across this title again at my local library and decided I might as well read this trigger inducing book in order to justify my affronted country pride. It should be no surprise in that I was wrong with regard to my self-righteous preconceived notions. Isenberg delivers a thought provoking look at the impoverished white population that has been present in America since the first settlers arrived from England. She explored the concepts of the American Dream and how this class of individuals has faired as our nation grew out of its adolescence and into present day. I entered college a young naïve, overly optimistic student who was dismayed upon her sociology professor in Global Cultures dismantling the truth behind the American Dream, which was much of the same message as delivered by Isenberg. I’ve often thought back to the lecture, mostly in defiance of proving that Professor wrong, however found the argument just as edifying in Isenberg’s rendition. White Trash contained an overabundance of information, which led to its biggest fault in my opinion. While Isenberg dove deeply into some subjects, many others she seemingly glossed over within a sentence or two. Overall, I highly recommend reading White Trash with an open mind, especially if you have had minimal interactions with individuals who reside below the poverty line, as I would hope that Isenberg’s book might provide a novel, thought provoking perspective.


  1. As someone who rides the subway to work everyday, I think perhaps the greatest flaw of the Kindle and other such devices is that you can’t peak at what the people around you are reading! I’ve been doing this for years, but it’s getting harder and harder to find new material this way.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I just finished this book and I will have a review posted eventually. I have a few others before. This book is within my field (intersection between science, race, and class) so it really appealed to me.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I really enjoyed it. A lot of work has focused on the relationship and consequences of class on African Americans. The book explores the creation of a new pseudo-race of the off-cast poor whites. It adds a lot to the picture of the American class structure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice review!

    I also try to sneak a peek at what titles people have in their hands. I’m also not as naive about the American dream as I once was before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nothin’ wrong with snooping at what titles people are reading.

    Just this morning on the bus I noticed the guy usually library books about movie directors had his own copy of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

    And I’m pretty blatant about staring at the books in other peoples houses.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This book reminds me an awful lot of “Yesterday’s People” by Jack E. Weller — guess I’ll have to add both to my reading list (although from you described, my college might end up assigning it anyway :P). Nice review c:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! 🙂 It was definitely an interesting read that I’m still finding myself thinking about. I haven’t heard of Yesterday’s People before. I’ll have to look into it!


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