A New York Times Bestseller, and a ground-breaking history of the class system in America, which challenges popular myths about equality in the land of opportunity. The wretched white poor in America have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's banjo-plucking hillbillies. They have been labelled Clay-Eaters and Waste People, an underclass that runs contrary to the American dream that hard-work begets success. Yet these marginalized whites have always been near the centre of major debates over the character of the American identity, as crucial to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century as they have been to the election of Donald Trump in 2017. In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg takes on a nation's comforting myths about equality, uncovering the legacy of ever-present, always embarrassing - if occasionally entertaining - white trash.