Love and Hate in the Heartland by Mark Phillips

Love and Hate in the Heartland: Dispatches from Forgotten American cover

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book. Maybe I somehow misunderstood what it was about, to some degree… I don’t know. I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I was expecting to read in this book, but it wasn’t quite this.

Love and Hate in the Heartland reads like a memoir of sorts, composed of brief essays that shares some of the author’s family history along with lyrical observations about the area he lives in, along with conversations he has with friends and family about everyday life, and the day to day struggles that go along with it.

I think the purpose of this book is to give readers a glimpse of what life is like for the so-called “forgotten Americans” who supported Trump in the last Presidential election, to perhaps give a little insight into how they formed their political opinions, and why.

The book is well-written and engaging, often poetic in a way, when the author describes the area he calls home. While I didn’t always agree with the political stance taken by the people he has conversations with, it held my interest and made me curious to see what would be said next.

Overall, this was just an okay book for me. I’m glad I read it, but it’s probably not something I would recommend to many people.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing via Edelweiss.

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Author: Mark Phillips
Title: Love and Hate in the Heartland: Dispatches from Forgotten America
Genre: Essays Politics
Publication Date: April 3, 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing
Rating: 2 stars

About the Book

Meet the “deplorables.” Meet the majority that was silent until the election of President Donald Trump. Meet the Middle Americans whom globalism and the modern economy have left behind.

In a collection of vignettes telling of family history and bar stool interviews and stubborn beliefs and resignation, Mark Phillips gathers a collage of the forgotten Americans–the Americans that urbanites didn’t know existed, pollsters couldn’t define, and politicians sought to target. The Alleghenians featured, the author among them, feel left adrift. They are not politically active; they are more concerned with eking out a living at failing factories than with the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act.

Love and Hate in the Heartland goes beyond talking heads and superficial media portrayals to tell stories of humanity, strength, resilience, generosity, and self-reliance. Faced with a bleak outlook, these noble ideals mingle with resignation and misguided bitterness. Written in evocative and graceful prose, it gives faces to the voices we heard in November 2016.

About the Author

MARK PHILLIPS is the author of My Father’s Cabin, and his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Salon, Saturday Review, and Country Life. He has also worked as a beekeeper and occasional maple syrup producer in upstate New York.