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Short Synopsis
In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, extending from colonial times to the present, Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.

Full Synopsis
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 nineteenth 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.

"A riveting thesis supported by staggering research." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"This estimable book rides into the summer doldrums like rural electrification." ---New York Times

"[Kirsten Potter's] voice has a low but soft quality to it that makes it enjoyable to listen to, while her ability to strike meaning into each sentence keeps listeners engaged through this fascinating history." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

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

"White Trash will change the way we think about our past and present." ---T.J. Stiles, author of Custer's Trials

"Here is a timely and essential book." ---Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship

"A bold, colorful, and necessary book about one of the oldest---and most disturbing---themes in American history." ---Edward L. Ayers, author of The Promise of the New South
Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Kirkus Review

New York Times Bestseller

USA Today Bestseller

White Trash

The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Author Nancy Isenberg

Narrated by Kirsten Potter

Publication date Jun 21, 2016

Running time 15 hrs 7 min

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