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216 × 138 mm
192 pages
12 Mar 2018
Field Notes

Hinterland America’s New Landscape of Class and Conflict Phil A. Neel

Over the last forty years, the landscape of the United States has been fundamentally transformed. It is partially visible in the ascendance of glittering, coastal hubs for finance, infotech and the so-called ‘creative class’. But this is only the tip of an economic iceberg, the bulk of which lies in the darkness of the declining heartland or on the dimly lit fringe of sprawling cities. This is America’s Hinterland, populated by towering grain-threshing machines and hunched farmworkers, where labourers drawn from every corner of the world crowd into factories and ‘fulfilment centres’. Driven by an ever-expanding crisis, America’s class structure is recomposing itself in new geographies of race, poverty and production.

Drawing on his direct experience of recent popular unrest, Phil A. Neel provides a close-up view of this landscape in all its grim but captivating detail, and tells the intimate story of a life lived within America’s hinterland.

‘Imagine Patrick Leigh Fermor and Karl Marx on a road trip through the hubs and corridors, empty rural tracts and dreary outer suburbs of rust-belt America in search of a central authority to whom one could lodge a complaint, and find no-one home—in fact, home itself gone. Neel takes us on a breathless tour of ‘economic geography’ as he looks for work in Los Angeles, labors on the range in Nevada, goes to jail after Occupy Seattle, all the while asking where, under capitalism, the US and the world is going. Ambitious, polemical, brilliant, this book reminds us of the very urgency of his question.’ – Arlie Hochschild, author of the New York Times best-seller and National Book Award finalist Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

‘Hinterland is where the future slouches toward Bethlehem. Phil Neel’s dazzling journeys through the burned-over landscapes of end-time capitalism—the despoiled remnants of rural America, the exfoliating zones of suburban poverty—compel us to rethink what class confl ict looks likenot only in America, but around the world.The exhausted shibboleths of what’s left of the Left vaporize in the heat of his prose.’ – Steve Fraser, author of The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power

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Phil A. Neel was raised in a mobile home in the Siskiyou Mountains, on the border of California and Oregon. He writes regularly on diverse topics and currently lives in Seattle.

Introduction: The Cult of the City
1 Oaths of Blood
2 Silver and Ash
3 The Iron City
4 Oaths of Water