I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark by Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan, Corey Ryan Forrester
Narrator: Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan, Corey Ryan Forrester
Published by Atria Books on October 4th 2016
Genres: Adult, Nonfiction
Reading Challenges: 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge
Source: Review copy from Simon & Schuster Audio
Buy on Amazon
The Liberal Rednecks—a three-man stand-up comedy group doing scathing political satire—celebrate all that’s good about the South while leading the Redneck Revolution and standing proudly blue in a sea of red.
Smart, hilarious, and incisive, the Liberal Rednecks confront outdated traditions and intolerant attitudes, tackling everything people think they know about the South—the good, the bad, the glorious, and the shameful—in a laugh-out-loud funny and lively manifesto for the rise of a New South. Home to some of the best music, athletes, soldiers, whiskey, waffles, and weather the country has to offer, the South has also been bathing in backward bathroom bills and other bigoted legislation that Trae Crowder has targeted in his Liberal Redneck videos, which have gone viral with over 50 million views.
Perfect for fans of Stuff White People Like and I Am America (And So Can You), The Liberal Redneck Manifesto skewers political and religious hypocrisies in witty stories and hilarious graphics—such as the Ten Commandments of the New South—and much more! While celebrating the South as one of the richest sources of American culture, this entertaining book issues a wake-up call and a reminder that the South’s problems and dreams aren’t that far off from the rest of America’s.
Ahhh, politics. ‘Tis the season, right? I needed to read a political book for one of the items on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and I couldn’t resist this one when Simon and Schuster offered it up for review.
I’d heard of Trae Crowder from his YouTube video denouncing the HB2 law in North Carolina, which requires people who identify as transgender to use the bathroom that aligns with their sex assigned at birth. Trae’s video, dubbed a “Porch Talk,” was filled with humor, sass, southern twang, and strong liberal beliefs. There can be an assumption that everyone in the south, or everyone in rural America, is a conservative, gun-toting redneck. Trae shows us that these assumptions are rooted in stereotypes about the south, and that things aren’t actually that simple. With this book, Trae and his fellow comedian friends try to bring rise to a new movement: Liberal Rednecks.
For those of us who live in the south, and live among the rednecks, it is not surprising to learn that there are rural folk who voted for Hillary Clinton. Those states and counties colored completely red on election maps do have small, yet passionate, collections of people who fight for LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, expanded health care, gun control, and progressive policies. Yes, many of these people get the hell out of Dixie the second they can, but many of us grew up here and still live here amongst the rhetoric of the religious right. Trae, Corey, and Drew use their southern-raised humor and intelligence to explain redneck culture (both the good and the bad) and make a strong call to rednecks to reconsider their positions on issues that directly affect them and their families.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know my favorite audiobooks are non-fiction. I love radio shows and podcasts, and a good nonfiction audiobook can offer the same type of educational entertainment with more in-depth content. This particular audiobook was a great example of that. The humor helps keep the book engaging, the organization (by topics) helps me focus, and the topic was exceptionally timely and relevant. The audiobook is narrated by the authors, who are exceptionally engaging due to their status as entertainers…and they brought authentic southern twang to the text, which was essential to the listening experience. If you can get your hands on the audiobook, I highly recommend enjoying the book in this format — with comedians at the helm, you won’t be disappointed.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook, the heart of the book hit at so many issues about which I’m passionate. Did I learn anything new here? Yes! I learned a lot about the prescription pill addiction epidemic that plagues many rural communities and the complexities of how this affects the networks of people affected. I also appreciated that the book is aimed at both rednecks themselves and those seeking to understand exactly why the south is the way it is. I may not have been the intended audience for the book (or maybe I was?) but I appreciated how the authors spoke to both audiences with empathy, intelligence, and humor.
The one complaint I have about the book, and the reason I had to dock it a whole letter grade, was that it repeatedly treated women as objects. Though the authors address women’s issues directly in one chapter and clearly are walking down the right path politically, they undid this with many comments that treat mommas as default family cooks and women as sexual objects. I was incredibly disappointed that they didn’t critically engage with their own words in their revision process to see how their stance here was inconsistent. The book isn’t perfect, and I didn’t expect it to be, but I did expect for these men to do better on certain aspects that should have been Feminism 101.
FINAL GRADE: C
If you are looking for a light and entertaining political read, this is for you. Be prepared for the Trae, Corey, and Drew to miss the mark in a few areas, but also be prepared to laugh. The narrators did an excellent job reading their own book, and I highly recommend checking out the audiobook if you have the chance. It would make a great listen on a road trip or during the morning commute. I do hope there can be more written that speaks to these tensions in the south and challenges them in ways that maybe make room for conversations around these issues…but, let’s be honest — I’m not holding my breath for that at this point in time (but maybe I’m wrong? Maybe some day?).