More Books to Understand
the Election

Following our post yesterday on election-related titles rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, the NYT published an article “6 Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win.” Those titles are now rising on Amazon as well.

The following are in the top 200:

Hillbilly ElegySales rank: 2 (was 5)
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

At the top of nonfiction best seller lists since August, the NYT calls it, “a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion.”

9781620972250_2d0ceSales rank: 26 (was 279)
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild, (The New Press, 2016; OverDrive Sample)

A finalist for the National Book Awards, to be named next week, the NYT says the author “takes seriously the Tea Partiers’ complaints that they have become the ‘strangers’ of the title — triply marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism. Her affection for her characters is palpable.”

White TrashSales rank: 65 (was 404)
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg (PRH/Viking; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample)

NYT best seller for several weeks this summer, reaching a high of #8, is described by the NYT as  “an analysis of the intractable caste system that lingers below the national myths of rugged individualism and cities on hills. ”

9780374102418_d256aSales rank: 81 (was 3,196)
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample)

Winner of the National Book Award in 2013, the NYT says that even though the book is now 3 years old, it is possibly the one “that best explains the American that elected Donald J. Trump”

9781627795395_ad7ff-2Sales rank: 129 (was 1,678)
Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? , Thomas Frank.  (Macmillan. Metropolitan Books, 2015; Macmillan audio; ; OverDrive Sample)

Rather than blaming the alt right for the disaffection of the white working class, this book argues that liberals should look at themselves, “Too busy attending TED talks and vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Frank argues, the Democratic elite has abandoned the party’s traditional commitments to the working class.”

The more academic book on the list is currently at #553.

9780997126440_25083The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics, John B. Judis, (Columbia Global Reports, 2016)

Argues that Trump is not a fascist, but a “nasty nationalist,” resembling “the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the buffoonish media baron,” rather than Mussolini.

6 Responses to “More Books to Understand
the Election”

  1. Lori Fultz Says:

    Hasn’t the media already divided our society by race and class enough? Now I have to also read on this website that the people who voted for Trump are regarded as “white trash” and “hillbillies”? Please consider your followers when you post things like this so soon after the election. No wonder have the country is fed up!

  2. Nora Rawlinson Says:

    Thanks for your comment. Despite these books’ incendiary titles, they are very sympathetic examinations of why many in the white working class feel angry ad disenfranchised and therefore voted for Trump (who, by the way, has called women and immigrants by much worse names).

  3. Lori Fultz Says:

    The fact that these are the books that are being pushed to the top supposedly because they explain why people voted for Trump is the very reason why he won. Trying to zero in on a certain class is why this election took so many by surprise. Plenty of non-white, males and females voted for Trump and you couldn’t have taken your “recommended” list from a more liberal bastion than the New York Times. I could care less what Trump has called people but if the media wants to keep pushing the derogatory angry, white narrative they should be prepared for an eight year Trump presidency.

  4. Darren Nelson Says:

    These are all getting increased activity in our system and thank you for featuring. I read Listen, Liberal and am listening to Hillbilly Elegy now and find them thoughtful, challenging, and engaging works by authentic members of, yes, often underconsidered and misunderstood segments of society. Far from fanning liberal technocratic derision of “flyovers” they in fact do QUITE the opposite – taking “establishment” assumptions very much to task without condescending or romanticizing.

  5. Julia Says:

    Great list of outstanding books. Thanks for posting. As a person who grew up poor in rural Wisconsin, I’m grateful to these authors for their insight and wisdom, and I’m glad to see their titles on the bestseller lists. Over the weekend, I watched the C-Span broadcast of Arlie Hochschild speaking at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville in October. (Available at Wow!

  6. Lori L. Fultz Says:

    I have Hillbilly Elegy on my reading list and I’m going to have to move it to the top. Darren, thanks for the info. :)