Trash: A Poor White Journey

Broadleaf. Mar. 2024. 235p. ISBN 9781506486277. $28.99. SOC SCI
In their debut book, activist and interfaith chaplain Monroe returns as an Episcopal priest to the place where they were raised. Grays Harbor County, an area of great beauty along the Washington coastline, is also a place of extreme poverty, the result of the waning of the timber industry over the last 40 years. Monroe empathizes with the impoverished people of their county because they too came from a low-income earning family whom many called “white trash.” They spent a decade in Grays Harbor, ministering to unhoused people and imprisoned people. Chaplains on the Harbor, Monroe’s nonprofit, also set up a farm where people can learn the farming business. Their book is the story of the people the ministry helped and an analysis of why there is poverty in this wealthy country. They examine the theft of land from Indigenous peoples, the empire-building usurpation of natural resources, the exploitation of people living in impoverished conditions, and the ideology that turns poor people of different races against each other, benefitting only capitalists and white supremacists. Finally, the book discusses ways to fight for better conditions for all people.
VERDICT A poignant glimpse into the lives and obstacles in an impoverished postindustrial county. Includes a call to action to unite and empathize with others.
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