Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir by Joe Bageant

Rainbow Pie is many things – an homage to a misunderstood culture, an affectionate nod to begone values, and a vehement rant against the American system, be it political, social, or economic.  Joe Bageant comes from the same vein as someone such as Steve Earle, a “leftneck” as he is referred to in his blog.  As such, he’s very passionate and affectionate of the Appalachian culture that he came from, although he’s spent enough time and distance away from his native roots to see their shortcomings.  His writing can be as radical and gritty as it gets, and he’s a good place to start if you want to know why certain elements of rural America think the way they do.

In his first book Deer Hunting with Jesus, Bageant came off to me as a way-left-of-center hippy version of Jim WebbRainbow Pie continues the themes of its preceding book in a grimmer vein, detailing the hardships of working class culture.  It’s an uncompromising book that will not appeal to everybody, but Bageant’s prose clicks along, although he can be cantankerous.  It’s refreshing to hear his perspectives, which are those of a writer rather than a talking head.

P.S.  Joe Bageant recently passed away from cancer.  You can find more details through his website here.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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