“Hard Living on Clay Street”

I am pleased to announce that a third edition of Hard Living on Clay Street, a book I wrote in 1971, is now available on Amazon with a new “Preface 2017” and a new “Epilogue 2017.” My daughter, Jessica, who lives in the Clay Street neighborhood with her family, wrote the Epilogue. Many of my blog followers may know of the book and some I know have read it. Originally published by Doubleday in 1973, the book has been in continuous print (except I think for one year) ever since. Waveland Press, who picked up the book after Doubleday, decided to come out with a 2017 edition due to all the interest in the white working class, many of whom voted against their self interests in helping elect Trump. Why did this happen? Who were these voters? The inscription on the cover, written by Joan C. Williams of the University of California, Hastings School of Law, says, “You want to understand why Trump won the 2016 Election? Read this book.”

I hope that you will give it a look on Amazon and spread the word that a new edition with 2017 updates is available.

13 thoughts on ““Hard Living on Clay Street”

  1. You know, having a book written 44 years ago declared now by a law professor to be what to read to understand the Trump victory is downright remarkable, Joe! Congratulations! I can’t wait to re-read it and see Jessica’s epilogue, especially since you’ve reminded me she and her family live in the neighborhood you described powerfully way back when. I will not be at all surprised to see it on the bestseller lists soon!

  2. Congratulations, Cap’n. Great honor for you and Embry, two hard workers on Clay Street. In the [1972] words of your mentor Bill Goodykoontz, “How does it feel to be the author of a book that will still be being read a century from now?” Please send my autographed hard copy appropriately and flatteringly inscribed, assuming those two terms are not mutually exclusive. You have the address. De Facto
    P.s. Has Trump’s election resulted in a personal windfall? If so, would that be described as trickle down economics?

  3. I still have my copy on my fabulous old bookcase
    along with the other “Classics”. Things like Sandburg, Frost, Hemingway, Steinbeck….
    Hope I can see the new Epilogue 2017.
    And great quote from the CA professor…

  4. Loved your book in college.

    Hate your leftist ideals and rhetoric. Get a clue. These people are not like you and others like you who wish to deprive them of their freedom. The hard livers vote for the interests of the country they know and against the left coasts elitist interests. I’ve lived among these people my entire life. I married into a family of them They vote for the interests of pro life, second amendment rights, pro family. They go to church, believe in God, want to be left alone. They as a rule dislike the elitist attitudes of those who wish to control them or say they know what is best for them. They don’t blindly vote themselves the treasury of the country like most democrats do. The democrats give them nothing and just demonize their way of life and throw them trinkets. They voted for Trump because they saw through the lies of the leftist coalition

    Thank God for the hard workers and livers who see through the deception of the left and their ilk. Come to Michigan sometime and I will introduce you to these people and how they think. We don’t to be ruled by the elitists on the coasts. And that is truly in our best interests.

    1. Thank you very much, Kellan, for your thoughtful comments. I can understand your feelings and agree that the “elite” you talk about often tend to look down their noses on people like the ones I got to know and wrote about on “Clay Street.” I suppose in some ways I may be guilty of insensitivity as well, but I want to let you know that I am in your corner.
      The issue I have been trying to address in my blogs is not Trump’s support from a lot (but hardly all) of the white working class but rather Trump himself. His policies include extreme tax cuts for the very wealthy, cutting the social safety net, and opposing raising the minimum wage. He is a spoiled brat, son of a multi millionaire and raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. He is fiercely anti union as are most of his appointees, anti environment, anti health and job safety regulations, and just about everything else you can think of that would benefit working people. His populism was and is a ruse. Look at his appointments. Now that Bannon is gone, they are almost all from Wall Street or are multi millionaires and billionaires who have no use for populism or the working class.They do not care about people like you (or as is clearly evident, bleeding heart liberals like me). By going after immigrants and pretending he can bring back the good paying factory jobs, Trump thinks he can keep the “base” happy. Watch what he actually accomplishes, not what he says. Tacit approval of the “fine people” who happen to be Neo-Nazis or in the Ku Klux Klan is also an effort to control his supporters and is another example of his fraud. The vast majority of his supporters are not racists but have legitimate complaints as to how they have faired under the new world economic order. They thought Trump would be the shinning knight on a white horse who would bring back the good old days. It is not happening under Trump and will not happen under Trump. Gradually his base will understand this and realize they have been sold a bill of goods by a phony.
      We need a government that is truly pro worker and will fight for the things that will make life better for working people. That is not Trump and it is not the Republicans. The Democrats have a ways to go to get the right message and the policies in place to make this happen, but if America is truly going to be great a again we need jobs programs that really work and incentives that reward hard work at every level and provide the support (like affordable child care, college, housing and universal health care) that begin to level out the playing field.
      Thanks again for your comment and shame on liberal “elites” who look down on the white working class!

  5. I rarely comment on anything online, but wanted to let you know how much of an impression Hard Living on Clay Street made on me 40 plus years ago as a young student. I just bought the 1991 epilogue version because I wanted to share it with my son (and of course read it again myself). Reading this book after living my adult life, and from an older person’s perspective, is an interesting experience, having friends and family who have lead similar lives. It’s a humbling reminder when one tends to be a bit judgemental about why they “can’t just pull themselves together”. There but for the grace of God….

  6. Hello Mr Howell what a nice surprise to find this book is in a newer publish date. I am married to SAMMY , I enjoyed reading the first published copy I will be sure to buy the newer one as well. Sammy (Pete) often tells old stories from his childhood days although he has never really had answers or stories about his mom.

    1. Toni, what a pleasant surprise. Would love to get together and reconnect with “Sammy” and meet you. My email is joehowell@starpower.net and my number is 202-255-8110. Let’s see if we can find a time to get together.

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