Strangers in America: A Novel


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Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. Add to Cart Add to Cart. Listen to a sample from Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds. Also in Stranger Things. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? View all 12 comments. Mar 12, Julie rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , , e-book , history , politics. I feel like this book, written by someone about as far removed from this culture as one could be, is a telling and insightful look at how the country came to be so divided.

The author keeps her mind as open as possible, genuinely likes the subjects she has chosen to spotlight, and works very hard to understand their point of view without bias. I know I risk offending someone along the way, so I apologize in advance if my political views do not match up with yours. Charles, Louisiana had an enormous explosion in and again in A safety inspector for Axiall had the job of trying to reduce the risk of accidents. The young man climbed the towers and squeezed under machines to check pipes and valves and attach small red flags to pipes that needed replacing or valves tightening.

The staff asked me to take it off since it might make workers who saw me with it to worry about the ill effect of the air on them.

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But when they laughed at me, I could see their teeth were visibly eroded by exposure to sulfuric acid mist. Some, believe they must learn to cope because of the jobs it provides, some think of it as the sacrifice made for capitalism, and some consider it respect for bravery. No one considers themselves a victim.

Strangers Below | Joshua Guthman | University of North Carolina Press

In fact, they are critical of liberal sounding talk of victimhood. And, so it goes- What the author refers to as the great paradox. If you are looking for a way to understand why the conservative right is so angry, why they voted the way they did, what issues they face, this book will put you in their shoes, and give you an up close and personal view of their concerns, where they form their opinions and ideals, and why they are so important to them.

The state has a strong Christian population and their faith, church, and the Bible is the cornerstone of their lives. The most important thing for the residents of this state, next to their faith, is jobs. Many are quite aware of the health and environmental risks involved.


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But, they also hate the EPA and the government poking their nose in. For at least eight years, folks like these felt frustrated by welfare recipients, immigrants, refugees, all getting special opportunities they would love to have come their way. They felt betrayed. Now, the tides have shifted, with the feelings reversed. Often their point of view is quite harsh. Looking at things through their eyes will most assuredly give you some perspective if you happen to walk on the liberal side and are having a hard time understanding why, even knowing the environmental risks, these proud, hardworking, loyal people, still voted for the republican candidate.

I may be one of the few people who understands both sides of the spectrum. People who are struggling to keep their heads above water, who want to work, need to work, struggle with educational funding, and see their values and way of life slowly disappearing, or even reviled.

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While, I may not be all that skilled at multitasking, I am capable of feeling compassion for more than one group of people or feel passionate towards more than one 'cause'. At the moment, neither side seems to be willing to budge, even a little. A little 'do unto others' might go a long way towards bridging the 'great divide", and Christian values can be interpreted in a variety of ways.


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Remember, Jesus was very compassionate. So, there is that. But, this book did help me tamp down on some of my frustrations, did give me a different view of what some of my fellow Americans are going through, and provided me with enough information to consider possible solutions other than just lashing out at those who are holding fast and hard to their way of life, while the other half of the country are progressing, adapting, and hoping to move forward with their vision of what America should be like.

I think this is a must read for those still struggling with our current political climate. I pray for our country and hope that at the very least, we can begin speaking to one another again, in calm, reasonable voices, in order to bring about the solutions and compromises that must take place if we ever hope to bridge the gap that is keeping us separated. This is something that bothers me a lot.

I worry constantly, and feel uneasy about our future as a country the longer we continue to fight against one another's vision of what America stands for. Overall, I felt the author did a very fine job with this book. She allows the voice of the people to be heard, she works very hard to understand the psychology, and is fair to the subject and the people.

She does have to work at it pretty hard, at times, and I did pick up on her frustration at times, a feeling I also had to work to keep under control. Her liberal convictions never wavered, no one convinced her that the future should revert to the past, but she does come away with a better understanding, and with a new -found respect for the people she studied. This book is very thought provoking, no matter which side you come down on politically and is definitely worth looking into and strongly recommend it!

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Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

Shelves: economics , america , family , political-science , religion , social-science , nonfiction , psychology. The concept of this book is exactly what I had been thinking about for the past two years. I am so grateful for Hochschild for structuring a study to investigate the political divide in the United States as evinced by Louisiana, a deeply conservative red state facing environmental degradation and widespread poverty. Hochschild focused on a single issue upon which voting age people might be expected to converge in attitude--environmental pollution--and ended up asking a question which illuminated The concept of this book is exactly what I had been thinking about for the past two years.

"The Strange" written by Norman Whitney, Learn english through the Story.

Hochschild focused on a single issue upon which voting age people might be expected to converge in attitude--environmental pollution--and ended up asking a question which illuminated other attitudes: why do those living in polluted states want less federal oversight from environmental agencies rather than more?

Hochschild found that many attitudes are not based in economic self-interest so much as emotional self-interest, something with which every person struggles in our lifetimes. Our emotional response to a problem or issue may color our perception, and put our economic self-interest at odds with what we decide to believe.

There are lots of examples of this in everyday life anywhere: a mother allows an adult child to move back home rent-free while looking for a job, a sister lends money to a drug-addicted sibling promising repayment, etc. Hochschild postulates that the individuals she interviewed belonging to the Tea Party in Louisiana were reacting to preserve emotional self-interest rather than economic self-interest with regard to environmental pollution controls or the lack of them. She concludes these folks experienced a psychological high of belonging to a powerful, like-minded political majority, and as a part of this group felt released from politically-correct rules that usually govern polite society.

The Tea Party supporters she interviewed agreed that the deep story Hochschild generated did resonate with them and could be said to define them: That life is hard , and they must endure ; that they felt like they were waiting in line, patiently, for their rewards for working hard but they see federal government-subsidized line-cutters getting benefits before the hard workers, i. In order not to feel powerless, they blamed someone else, like the federal government, or the line-cutters.

In some cases their houses were destroyed or blown up by gas leaks, the rivers surrounding their houses were so polluted plants and animals died when in contact with it. The interviewees were retired or near retirement. Their neighbors and spouses were dying of various cancers. At the end of the study, when she was drawing her conclusions, Hochschild was remarkably restrained.

Though he was rich, he was low class; he made it look as though his level of success was attainable to ordinary folk. There is a certain amount of willful delusion and economic self-interest in these beliefs, it seems to me. I found myself steeled against their resistance to coherent argument on commonsense pollution controls. If I react with my economic self-interest, we are likewise at loggerheads.

These people want what I want, e. They must want a clean environment as well. We disagree on how to get there. This was really a spectacular study, enormously important, and deeply skilled in execution. I am in awe of how the author was able to approach the problems she could see in our society, measure them, and explain what she found to us.

This book was published in , the result of at least five years of labor and study. View all 22 comments. May 26, Tatiana rated it really liked it Recommended to Tatiana by: Trumpcast. Shelves: non-fiction , , national-book-award. The thing is, no matter how well Trump voters' psyche and worldview are explained to me and this book does a fantastic job of presenting the Right's "deep story" , I can never truly comprehend them, especially the lack of generosity in their version of morality, aversion to objective facts and constant voting against their best interests.

There are flaws in their logic that are driving me insane. In addition, this is quite a damning portrait of state of Louisiana. The republican voters of this s The thing is, no matter how well Trump voters' psyche and worldview are explained to me and this book does a fantastic job of presenting the Right's "deep story" , I can never truly comprehend them, especially the lack of generosity in their version of morality, aversion to objective facts and constant voting against their best interests.

The republican voters of this state have been complicit in damaging the environment of their allegedly beloved state, suffered greatly because of it, and are determined to continue voting against environmental regulations. Paradox indeed.


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View 2 comments. Aug 18, Esil rated it really liked it. Arlie Russell Hochschild is a self described liberal Democrat sociology professor at Berkeley. She set out to climb what she describes as the "empathy wall" for the purpose of understanding what has motivated the Republican base in the US in recent years.

She does so by conducting extensive interviews in a number of smaller communities in Louisiana -- a state with high levels of pollution and poverty that has consistently voted Republican. Her research started well before she could have predicted the outcome of the election, but her book ends up being incredibly timely. I found Hochschild's book really interesting -- she does a good job describing the social, economic and environmental context in Louisiana while presenting many of the people she met with respect and empathy.

Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel
Strangers in America: A Novel Strangers in America: A Novel

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