Joe Bageant’s book available on Amazon

Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War

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Well my friends, lo and bediddle, I woke up to this morning to an email
from my friend Nancy informing me that my book is now offered for
presale on Amazon.com. So I guess it’s OK to talk a little more about
it than I have previously, not wanting to inadvertently screw up those
mysterious processes by which book publishers and marketers and other
slick folks up there in the Big Tater do their thing, and also not
wanting toot my own horn in a more embarrassing manner than I already
do at times.

Anyway, many friends and readers will notice that the title has changed to Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War. The original title was Drink, Pray, Fight, Fuck: Dispatches From America’s Class War. Contrary to what one might suspect, the name change had not as much to do with the word “fuck” as it did the fact that a book was recently released with a very similar title. Then too, when I started putting the title “Drink, Pray, Fight, Fuck” on the web, it kicked off some merchandising by small scale entrepreneurs of ball caps, tee-shirts, etc. bearing the four words. (See what I mean about inadvertently fucking up things up for the slicks?) Which is no problem with me — I like to see the little guy printing tee-shirts make a buck.

Consequently, after much kicking around of other titles, Deer Hunting With Jesus was chosen because it is in the spirit of the book and the people within its pages, hopefully with a satisfying dose of humor in the mix. Deer hunting and Jesus do come together in the book in what I hope gives insight to the working class flyover rural America that hunts, prays, work like dogs and are told daily that terrorists want to blow up their churches and level their Wal-Marts (the latter not being the worst possible idea I’ve heard lately) because swarthy guys in robes over there envy our lifestyle … envy our choices between Little Debbie cakes and Hostess Hohos (or if you area a middle-class liberal, perhaps French Chardonnay as opposed to California stuff.)

The book is a non-fiction continuous work, not a collection of essays or a collection of previous online material — although there are some parts of essays included. In a sense however, it is a series of linked essays, with the real life people from my home town recurring throughout, along with explorations into deep Christian fundamentalism, and why, despite what most urban liberals think, they share many commonalities with the red state farmer, the Baptist preacher and the deep fried double wide world of service working Americans who grease their cars and wipe the asses of America’s elderly in nursing homes, or sit at terminals all day doing mindless meaningless work under the eye of the management classes.

And, if I have done this damned thing half right, I may have demonstrated that real working class conservatives are by no means entirely made up of Jesus and John Wayne super-dick America types, despite the media and red state generalizations. Given some time to catch their breath from debt slavery, and some straight, honest news, they can see who is picking their pockets and killing their kids in Iraq. But for now of course, they are being politically exploited, which is just a nice way of saying they are sucker-bait. Sucker-bait just the same as liberals are sucker-bait for the Democratic Party’s elite blue state pussy mafia — meaning the wimps who will gang up to jump Ralph Nader in the dark alley of primary politics, but will never stand up against the blackmail called health insurance in this country. Oh sure, they’ll soon come up with some piece of crap legislation, but the same crooked corporate donors will be counting their obscene profits in the end. (Oh Devil, stay my hand, I’m ranting again.)

Take away all the hubris, ego, greed and knee-jerk politics of both sides of this tiny bandwidth we let pass for a “political spectrum,” and we will find that most of the commonalities ordinary Americans used to enjoy still exist — although buried under so much self-deluding media driven horseshit we may never shovel ourselves out — the kind of commonalities and equal respect we acknowledged back when liberals still owned guns and even the most conservative Christians understood that the Constitution and the Bible were two entirely separate documents.

I don’t really know what else to say. You folks know me pretty well. You even know my friends here in Winchester, Virginia, although by pseudonyms. And I feel like I know you, thanks to the thousands of powerful, blunt, funny, heart-rending and profoundly honest emails in which you have shared your lives with me.

So finally, there it is on Amazon. I don’t want to bore you with the details of publishing, but here is the link and the description at this early point in the game:

Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War. This title will be released on April 24, 2007; 288 Pages; Pre-order now. Ships from and is sold by Amazon.com. Random House Crown release date, April 24, 2007.

Click here to go to Amazon.

In all sincerity I must confess I am nervous as hell that I may not have produced a work worthy of you good people. But if not, at least I have proven that rednecks can be taught to write and even become liberals. Somehow, that bodes at least a little bit hopeful for America, does it not?

About Amazon.com: Since my book came to be advertised on Amazon.com, it has been brought to my attention that Amazon is one of the biggest anti-union corporations in the US. I have no control over the publisher’s marketing. But I believe in the dire need of worldwide worker unions. I cannot accept money from such an anti-union corporation Consequently I will do this: All royalties from my book sold on Amazon will be contributed in their entirety to aid the third world Village of Hopkins in Belize — probably in aid of the village preschool there. Additionally, I am considering aiding a village in Thailand which has been brought to my attention by a reader there. A full accounting, complete with PDF documentation of Amazon income and how it was used will be posted on  my website after the first accounting period and following subsequent ones. But bear in mind that these things are ridiculously slow in the book business. So we are looking at  sometime deep into next year. This is an iron-clad promise, which is the best I can do at this point.

In brotherhood,

Joe Bageant
Winchester, Virginia

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