The people of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania voted Democratic for decades, until Donald Trump flipped it in 2016. What happened?
Named one of the "juiciest political books to come in 2018" by Entertainment Weekly.
In The Forgotten, Ben Bradlee Jr. reports on how voters in Luzerne County, a pivotal county in a crucial swing state, came to feel like strangers in their own land - marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and a liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism.
Fundamentally rural and struggling with changing demographics and limited opportunity, Luzerne County can be seen as a microcosm of the nation. In The Forgotten, Trump voters speak for themselves, explaining how they felt others were 'cutting in line' and that the federal government was taking too much money from the employed and giving it to the idle. The loss of breadwinner status, and more importantly, the loss of dignity, primed them for a candidate like Donald Trump.
The political facts of a divided America are stark, but the stories of the men, women and families in The Forgotten offer a kaleidoscopic and fascinating portrait of the complex on-the-ground political reality of America today.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Ben Bradlee Jr. is the author of the critically acclaimed The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams (2013) among other books. Bradlee spent 25 years with The Boston Globe as a reporter and editor. As deputy managing editor, he oversaw the Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church from July 2001 to August 2002. Bradlee lives with his wife outside Boston.
What People are Saying About This
"Ben Bradlee's The Forgotten is an eyeopening look at the American electorate in the Age of Trump. By honing in on a singular Pennsylvania county Bradlee brilliantly dissects the myriad of reasons behind our Great Political Divide. A must read!"
"This is a book that should be absorbed by the millions of Democrats who still cannot understand how Donald Trump won in 2016. Bradlee did what the brightest editors in New York and California did not assign their reporters to do -- he spent months talking to white working class Americans in a rural county in Pennsylvania -- a nominally blue state -- and learned the hard way, on the job, that Trump was a far more viable candidate than the elite thought. This is a real reporter's book."
“Pennsylvania has long fancied itself "the keystone state" -- the piece that holds together the arch of the nation. In 2016, when the nation came apart in disturbing ways, this state's role was especially revealing. Ben Bradlee Jr.'s meticulous reporting illuminates the riveting story of how people who felt forgotten discovered how to get the nation's attention.”
“The Forgotten is a riveting and empathetic portrait of a cross-section of (mostly disillusioned) people of Luzerne County, PA., which arguably gave Trump that state —and the Presidency. As we near the 2018 midterms, which will largely be a referendum on the Trump Presidency and the future of our nation, Ben Bradlee Jr.’s “listening -reporting” of the stories of those whose votes shook this country in 2016 offers complex, sobering and important lessons for the future of our country."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Forgotten How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America by Ben Bradlee Jr. Bradlee's book should be required reading by every Democratic contender for the 2020 presidential race. Actually, it should be required reading by every pundit on MSNBC and CNN, Through a series of interviews, Bradlee provides a window through which we can understand the reasons which caused people, many of whom had previously voted Democratic, voted for Trump. While in a few cases the decision was emotionally-based, the majority made a reasoned decision that Donald Trump was the solution to problems that had long been ignored by our government. Most of those voters are satisfied with the President's efforts and successes. Bradlee's ability to describe the Luzerne residents and recount their feelings and analysis with total respect and appreciation. All of the problems of Luzerne County are very real, and it is unfathomable that we have not addressed them. History provides countless examples of our tendency to blame and look for scapegoats when leadership fails to unite us in common cause of solving. those issues. If Democrats want to succeed, if Republicans want to succeed, if the country is going to succeed, we had better start listening to one another with respect and with the goal of problem-solving.
Subtitled "How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America," this book offers a look through the eyes of several residents of Luzerne County - many of whom voted for, and still support, #45. Why that matters is that of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the latter had the most electoral votes; Trump won largely because of his showing here - by a margin of nearly 20 points. I had two reasons for wanting to read the book, the first of which is that it's really hard for me to comprehend why anyone would want someone like The Donald in our country's highest office (which of course reveals my personal view on the subject). The second reason is that the Luzerne County is somewhat familiar; I've visited several times - a few to conduct employee development seminars at the community college in the county seat of Wilkes-Barre. The people I met were friendly and warm, and the surrounding scenery is close to breathtaking. Besides that, the county seems to somewhat mirror that of Ohio's Mahoning Valley - where I live - at least in terms of how the local economy has fared since the demise of heavy industry. The author visited the county four or five times, I believe, questioning numerous residents as to why they voted the way they did and then compiling the responses of about a dozen to form this book. In between are demographic facts about the county and its residents, such as an overall lack of college-educated residents and substantial increases in minorities moving in over the last several years. Also worthy of note to me, at least, is that Pennsylvania as a whole is home to more hate groups than any other U.S. state. Honestly, I really didn't run into any "Aha" moments here; most of the reasons given for dissatisfaction I've heard many times before. Hillary seemed to "look down" on people like them; government-programs like NAFTA and support of a global economy have cost them jobs; and social programs make it too easy for people to stay on what appears to be an ever-expanding dole and, more to the point, live as well or better than many of those who struggle to make a living the old-fashioned way. So to a large extent, the support of Trump there simply reflects a desire to get away from the same old, same old. As one man noted, "Washington is broke, and I need someone to go down there with a sledgehammer." Still, seeing their in-depth feelings in their own words is a bit eye-opening - especially on issues like immigration, which they claim not to oppose; after all, most of them come from immigrant parents or grandparents. At issue is legality; immigrants are welcome, but only if they follow the prescribed rules and are willing to "assimilate" into this country (meaning, for the most part, be willing to work hard and learn English) just like the residents' ancestors did. No, a wall isn't necessary, but some kind of effective border security certainly is - so Trump's get-tough stand on that issue came through loud and clear. With few available jobs and little hope that things will get better any time soon, it's easy to see why the people here think they've been "forgotten." For anyone interested in expanding their horizons - or looking for confirmation and support of their own views - this is a well-written, important book that reflects the times that are a'changin'. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with a copy for review.