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The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats Paperback – May 5, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Angry white male or astute social critic? Whichever, Goad (he's not using a pseudonym, is he?) bellows a primal scream in defense of white working-class wage serfs. There is not a meek, mealy-mouthed word in this tract, so readers had better strap themselves in if they recoil from cussing, epithets for every blankety-blank group under the sun, or chapter titles such as "Several Compelling Arguments for the Enslavement of All White Liberals." This tract is so hyperbolic, so vitriolic, so viciously funny, so unrestrained, that its sheer outlandishness might indicate that Goad is just venting a sustained satire. But his harangue is in earnest, a high-decibel diatribe agin' big gummint, high taxes, big business, and the media reiteration of (white) racism as the metaexplainer of what's wrong with America. Moreover, Goad's book will not go quietly, as it is a politically unclassifiable polemic sure to humor, or offend, or enrage library patrons, in equal measure. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An often reactionary diatribe on reverse discrimination by the editor of the 'zine Answer Me!, redeemed in large part by its author's phenomenal sense of humor. Goad disavows both the political right and left, but he's most likely to be tagged as a conservative. He's most lucid when characterizing the centuries-old race struggle in our country as a smokescreen for what should really be a class struggle. The poor have been enslaved, persecuted, and exploited by the upper class regardless of skin color, Goad maintains. That words like ``redneck'' and ``white trash'' are deemed acceptable while the ``N-word'' is not is proof that as Americans, by and large, we have been duped by rich folks into playing the race card. The author is at his best when using humor to elucidate a point, as when he argues that both black slaves and some disenfranchised whites were cheated and lied to by society in the same manner. Ex-slaves were offered 40 acres and a mule (which they never saw); whites in 18th- century America who had been bonded servants (in effect, white slaves) were promised ``two suits, an ax, and two hoes.'' The hoes, ``we are to presume, were gardening tools instead of prostitutes, unless `weeding' and `grubbing' were sexual euphemisms in colonial America.'' Goad's astute command of history and his sharp wit make for a volatile combination, and one that could be misread. A truly bigoted reader may take Goad's remarks about Lincoln not really intending to free the slaves, or about there being other Holocausts besides the Jewish one, out of context and use them to buttress their racism or anti-Semitism--views that Goad clearly does not sympathize with. But, of course, ideas that have value are also often dangerous. While Goad's defense (and overview) of redneck culture past and present is sure to infuriate the liberal reader, he is also likely to make that same reader laugh ruefully, and often. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684838648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684838649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jim Goad, The Redneck Manifesto (Simon and Schuster, 1997)

Three years before the publication of The Redneck Manifesto, Jim Goad was self-releasing the magazine ANSWER Me! on his own press, Goad to Hell Publications (who also published Peter Sotos' first collection, one of the only books I know of that was actively suppressed before being challenged through official channels), and standing trial for obscenity for issue #4. Fast-forward to 1997, and he's getting a hardback first-printing for a book I wouldn't have thought a major publisher would touch with a ten-foot pole.

Maybe there IS some small hope for the world.

That, ultimately, is what The Redneck Manifesto is about-- hope. Most people probably won't figure that out from reading it, though.

The Redneck Manifesto is a two-hundred-fifty page rant, I grant you, but it is a savagely intelligent, well-researched, and downright laugh-out-loud funny rant, and like all the best rants throughout history, it has at its core both a simple truth, that the redneck is the last subsection of American society against which it's permissible to be prejudiced, and a solution to that truth, which in this case is that the rednecks, and the people who oppress the rednecks, have a common enemy who has manipulated them into being enemies.

This is nothing new, of course. The power elite have been manipulating segments of the great unwashed against each other throughout human history. They're still doing it. (The Israelis and the Palestinians, anyone? The Orange Irish and the Green Irish? Shiites and Sunnis? The Tutsi and the Hutu? We could keep going like this all day.)

Goad has a plan to get everyone clear-headed, but to say it's confrontational would be understating the case somewhat.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful By mister big on October 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
...basically, I think Goad's put his finger on something very real and important; being a working-class white male myself, I must confess to turning one or another shade of crimson (and not just on my neck) whenever I hear some rich, Harvard-educated, brownstone-dwelling, cigar bar-frequenting, cappucino-sipping (and usually lily-white) "limo-lib" lovingly preserving his (or her) most cherished Archie Bunkerian stereotypes about us blue-collar slobbereenies. But I think there's a huge difference between pointing out the hypocrisies and rhetorical excesses of overclass pseudoradicalism and making a sweeping dismissal of the entire liberal enterprise. Goad has hit upon one of the most neglected truths in American society: racism, sexism, homophobia, and other leftist bugaboos notwithstanding, class is by far the biggest and most entrenched of social dividers. But rather than use this insight as a springboard for a more class-conscious approach to positive social change, Goad chooses (and seemingly encourages his readership to choose) to retreat into a world of political apathy, unrelenting self-pity, and perverse "pride" in some of the more tragic manifestations of trailer-park poverty. He sees his earlier attempts to improve his socialeconomic footing as not only futile (which may or may not be true) but also as somehow a betrayal of his heritage (which, I'm sorry, is just plain pathetic; it's like the ghetto-dweller who attacks his "overachieving" neighbors as "acting white.") The last thing the poor of any race need, however, is to embrace their poverty as a badge of honor. For a more thoughtful (and far less vitriolic) consideration of many of the same issues, I would suggest "The Revolt Of The Elites" by Christopher Lasch.
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74 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you decide to read this book, you are in for a major treat. This is a book unlike any other. As I read the book, I kept wondering how it ever got published. Jim Goad is one angry redneck, to be sure. His goal is to show how poor white trash has become the only acceptable scapegoat left in this country. Along the way, he rides roughshod over every type of politically correct supposition known to man. Goad doesn't care a whit about whiny blacks or liberal do-gooders. He doesn't give a fig about conservatives with their big-business loving mentality, either. Goad is concerned with one thing: the mistreatment of people, regardless of their skin color.
Goad reduces the ills of poor white trash to one simple formula: economic exploitation by the wealthy. Goad believes that the rich, throughout history, have consistently played off classes against each other in order to maintain their privileged status. The recent black vs. white warfare is just the latest incarnation of this exploitation. Goad disproves the widespread belief that blacks suffered alone. The majority of whites in America got here as indentured servants, many of whom were kidnapped and tossed on a boat against their will. America also served as a dumping ground for poor white criminals. The indentured servants were often treated worse than black slaves. Owners of indentured servants knew that they only had a limited amount of time to exploit these white slaves, so they worked them to a frazzle. Goad cites statistic after statistic to show that the vast majority of whites had it as bad, if not worse, than blacks.
Most of the book concerns razor sharp insights into white trash values. Goad looks at Elvis, Bigfoot and snake hugging Christians and sees within them new religions of the trash class.
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