We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America

Oxford Univ. Aug. 2019. 224p. illus. notes. ISBN 9780190888046. $24.95. POL SCI
Drawing upon more than 100 interviews conducted in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, Silva (sociology, Bucknell Univ.; Coming Up Short) explores how blue-collar workers connect their everyday lives, experiences, and struggles to their politics. The author supplies pseudonyms and amalgamates the towns into one, called Coal Brook, to protect the respondents. Many of the interviews were conducted in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Interviewees come from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds and include new arrivals to the region as well as those whose roots stretch back several generations. Silva challenges the assumption that blue-collar workers uniformly turned out for Trump, having discovered that many of the people, regardless of race, age, gender, or background, deeply mistrusted government and other social institutions, with many believing their votes were inconsequential. Many of the stories are truly heartrending and thought provoking.
VERDICT Anyone interested in the lives and motivations of blue-collar workers and their participation in the electoral process should read this insightful work.

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