“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.

17 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. Great to hear this Joe! I remember well when you were finishing the first edition. It’s a landmark work of art…

  5. 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!

      1. Hi Joe,
        I read your book in a Cultural Anthropology class in university many years ago. I was a Liberal Arts major. I liked the book, but you are wrong on Trump, unions etc. Unions are no longer needed. My father was in the union. All it did was take money from his paycheck and he did not receive any benefits from all the payments made. Unions are no better than mob leaders demanding their cut for ‘protection.’ There was a time in society when unions had their place. Today, with laws protecting workers (California is a prime example of how employee based laws are today), unions are outdated. It is funny you speak of millionaires and billionaires and the “wall street” types. Yet, you quickly overlook the Clintons, Obamas, Pelosi, Schumer and all the wealthy Liberal Hollywood elites who don’t spend their money in impoverished areas and live behind gated walls in gilded mansions. Entitled people getting their hair done, not wearing masks when the rest of society is expected to stay home. Elite individuals smugly eating specialty ice cream out of subzero freezers that cost more than many average Americans make in a year. As an immigrant myself, I am very offended that people want to enter into this country ILLEGALLY. I had to pay lawyers, do health tests (to ensure I did not have communicable diseases), enter into the country through the proper channels. I also had to work hard to achieve my success today, nothing was ever given to me. I started by scrubbing toilets and floors of wealthy people, but I never felt slighted, it only motivated me to strive for the same success. I saw how many hours the wealthy people I worked for put into their businesses and the sacrifices they made to achieve their wealth. I did not accept and did not want handouts. When things are given to people for free, a sense of entitlement develops and with that ensues a lack of motivation and drive. Hard work is the basis of the American dream. Only then can you appreciate your successes! If America was truly a country that was racist as the left would have everyone believe, then why do immigrants continue to come here? Wouldn’t they avoid America as it would not offer them a better life? Coming from a Socialist country I can tell you it is NOT a good idea. The whole point of a Capitalist market is to allow people the opportunity to succeed with little government involvement. Regarding healthcare, the Socialist ‘healthcare’ dream is just that. A dream. Socialized medicine is terrible! As a healthcare provider I can attest that Obamacare was a failure. The entire program needs to be reworked. Also, if you are going to quote President Trump, I would suggest you do the entire quote and not just a choice snippet to support your side of the argument. Here are the unambiguous actual words of President Trump: “Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.” After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.” Currently, those same ‘peaceful protesters’ that were in Charlottesville are now in Oregon and in other big cities and are the ones causing problems — they are known as: Antifa & the BLM movement (whose chair is an extremist terrorist from the 70’s, Susan Rosenberg, who was pardoned by Bill Clinton, https://greatgameindia.com/terrorist-black-lives-matter/). Any reasonable human with eyes and a brain can see that the leftist terrorists are professional agitators on the payroll of Leftist elites who want to push their own agenda for the world. (*Ferguson rioters were bused in and on George Soros’ payroll https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/14/george-soros-funds-ferguson-protests-hopes-to-spur/). I won’t even begin to get into the soul of darkness held by Soros and his liberal cronies. There were agitators who were wrong on both sides. Trump never has supported the KKK and anyone who believes the media misinformation campaign about it is blind to the true agenda that the Democrats are pushing. Trump is not beholden and does not answer to the elite, who control the world and want to have their agenda for how it should be operated. Because Trump does things his own way and is not on anyone’s payroll they want him out. He is about ending wars and getting out of endless quagmires where America does not belong. The Democrats are war mongers and believe in unrest. Back in 2017 when Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, the media went hog-wild with gloom and doom. None of that happened. Instead, he is moving forward, uniting the Arab world to be at peace with Israel and thereby forcing the hand of Palestine and Iran to do the same. Trump has led the way with prison reform,freeing many of the people put in jail under Biden and Harris’ strict laws which were unfair to minorities. Trump has led the way in laws against Human Trafficking…his list of achievements in a few short years are more than Biden has ever done in 48 years, with 8 of those years as VP! If Biden so wanted to improve things, he had a lifetime to do so. What I support as an immigrant are the values of the GOP party, regardless of who is the leader of the Republican party. Anti-abortion, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, individuality, the ability to start a business without too much government oversight. The Democratic party has had a long-standing history of oppression of people through making people dependent on government handouts. The very words of LBJ, a Democrat who said, “I will have those N’s voting Democrat for…” in addition to Joe Biden’s own words during the anti-busing laws, where he said, “he didn’t want his children growing up in a racial jungle” with respect to desegregation, not to mention all his other racially biased comments in the past and in the recent year are enough for me to see the real agenda of the Democratic Party: Socialism which leads to Marxism and ultimately a caste system. The Democratic party was and continues to be the party of slavery. I will not and cannot condone a vote for a party that had it’s beginnings in and continues to oppress people through political agendas!

        1. Thanks,Stef. Your life story is inspiring and provides insight as to why people support Trump. Of course, I am not a Trump supporter, but it is important for people like me to hear from people like you with different experiences and different world views. Thanks for sharing.

        2. Stef, the Republican party is lying to you. George Soros’s funding is paid out through the Open Society Foundation. Soros was an investor during his career and is a rabid capitalist. He made his money in forex trading.

          The Open Society Foundation is a named after a book by Karl Popper, an Austrian who worked at the London School of Economics, and also was a capitalist.

          The Reagan coalition paid off on Goldwater’s dream of uniting white Christians and pro-business deregulators. Trump’s run in 2016 was based on resentment of American social conservatives who got the short end of the stick over the past 40 years as Republicans, the Clintons, and the Obamas all honored Reagan’s elevation of business types and Republicans made minimal, ineffective giveaways to social conservatives.

          American social conservatives are striking back and it’s clear as day, though nobody talks about it. Huge firms like Target and Proctor & Gamble said ‘Black Lives Matter’ this summer and Fox News hates George Soros, but nobody talks about the reason being that the big business people are getting kicked out of the Republican party.


  6. 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….

  7. 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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