Joe Bageant

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Joe Bageant (1946–2011) was an American author and columnist. He was best known for his 2007 book, Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America's Class War.

Early life[edit]

Bageant was originally raised in Winchester, Virginia.[1] He left Winchester and worked as a journalist and editor. In 2001, Bageant moved back to Winchester.[1][2]

Progressive author[edit]

In Deer Hunting With Jesus, Bageant discusses how the Democratic Party lost the political support of poor rural whites and how the Republican Party has convinced them to "vote against their own economic self-interest." The book is mainly centered on his hometown, Winchester.[1]

In 2010, Bageant published a similarly themed book, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. Bageant used his extended family's experience after World War II to describe the social hierarchy in the United States. The book examines the postwar journey of 22 million rural Americans into the cities, where they became, the author argues, the foundation of a permanent white underclass and comprise much of today's heartland red state voters.

Bageant frequently appeared as a commentator on radio and television internationally and wrote a progressive online column distributed to hundreds of blogs and websites. He maintained his own blog, assisted by Ken Smith who continued editing the blog after Bageant's death.[1][3] Bageant also served as a senior (roving) editor with Cyrano's Journal Today and The Greanville Post, two sites devoted to progressive political and media analyses.[4][5][6]

Later life[edit]

During the last years of his life, Bageant lived in Ajijic, a small town on Lake Chapala in central Mexico.[1] He had been living in Ajijic, where he wrote Rainbow Pie, when he learned that he had a fast-growing and inoperable cancer.[1][7]

On January 4, 2011, Bageant announced on his web site that he had been "struck down by an extremely serious form of cancer" that was inoperable and so he was unable to engage in correspondence or his usual work, but he hoped to be able to resume them in the future.[8]

On March 27, 2011, it was announced on his website that Bageant had died on March 26 following "a vibrant life" and a four-month struggle with cancer.[9]


After Bageant's death, his Australian publisher asked Bageant's literary executor, Ken Smith, to select and edit about 80,000 words of his essays. The book was published in November 2011 as Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant.[3] This posthumous collection was available only in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa where, according to Smith, it sold reasonably well.[7] According to Smith, "no American publisher is yet interested in a book by a redneck socialist—and that says a lot about American culture and the US book business."[7]

Bageant's friends at The Greanville Post voted him as editor emeritus of the publication.[10]

In addition to being Bageant's literary executor, Ken Smith maintained Bageant's websites. Smith himself died in 2016 and with the continuation of the website being uncertain, a new website has been created at


  • Joe Bageant (2007). Deer Hunting With Jesus. Portobello Books. ISBN 978-1-84627-152-6.
  • Joe Bageant (2010). Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. Portobello Books. ISBN 978-1-84627-257-8.
  • Joe Bageant (2012). Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant. Scribe Publications. ISBN 978-1921844515.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lingan, John (2015) "Toxically Pure". The Baffler (Number 27).
  2. ^ Bageant, Joe (2007). Deer Hunting With Jesus. New York: Crown Books. ISBN 978-0-307-33936-2., p. 36
  3. ^ a b "About Ken Smith". An American Expat.
  4. ^ Cyrano's Journal Today
  5. ^ The Greanville Post
  6. ^ Joe
  7. ^ a b c ""The Only Life There Is"". Dark Ages America. 2011-12-23. Retrieved 2013-10-14. Scroll down to the comments section of the post for Ken Smith's remarks confirming that Bageant had been living in Ajijic when he was diagnosed with cancer.
  8. ^ Bageant, Joe (2011-01-04). "A Note from Joe". Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  9. ^ "Joe Bageant, 1946-2011". 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  10. ^ "About TGP". The Greanville Post. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2018.

External links[edit]