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Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

About the Book

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

An eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in the American Midwest

During Sarah Smarsh’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country’s changing economic policies solidified her family’s place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor and level of consciousness.

Smarsh was born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up as the daughter of a dissatisfied young mother and raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm 30 miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, HEARTLAND is an uncompromising look at class, identity and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess.

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
by Sarah Smarsh

  • Publication Date: September 18, 2018
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction, Sociology
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 1501133098
  • ISBN-13: 9781501133091