Download Heartland: A Daughter of the Working Class Reconciles an American Divide Audiobook

Heartland: A Daughter of the Working Class Reconciles an American Divide Audiobook, by Sarah Smarsh Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Sarah Smarsh Narrator: Sarah Smarsh Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2018 ISBN: 9781508265313
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*Finalist for the National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize*

*Instant New York Times Bestseller*

*Named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Post, BuzzFeed, Shelf Awareness, Bustle, and Publishers Weekly*

An essential read for our times: an eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in America that will deepen our understanding of the ways in which class shapes our country.

Sarah Smarsh was born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side, and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland.

During Sarah’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, she enjoyed the freedom of a country childhood, but observed the painful challenges of the poverty around her; untreated medical conditions for lack of insurance or consistent care, unsafe job conditions, abusive relationships, and limited resources and information that would provide for the upward mobility that is the American Dream. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves with clarity and precision but without judgement, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country.

A beautifully written memoir that combines personal narrative with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland examines the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less.

“A deeply humane memoir that crackles with clarifying insight, Heartland is one of a growing number of important works—including Matthew Desmond’s Evicted and Amy Goldstein’s Janesville—that together merit their own section in nonfiction aisles across the country: America’s postindustrial decline...Smarsh shows how the false promise of the ‘American dream’ was used to subjugate the poor. It’s a powerful mantra” (The New York Times Book Review). Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Smarsh—tough-minded and rough-hewn—draws us into the real lives of her family, barely making it out there on the American plains…This is just what the world needs to hear.”

    George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The difficulty of transcending poverty is the message behind this personal history…Through the arc of her upbringing, we see struggling family after struggling family shaped by public discourse and national policy.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • ”[A] powerful message of class bias…[and] a potent social and economic message embedded within an affecting memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Candid and courageous…Smarsh’s raw and intimate narrative exposes a country of economic inequality that has ‘failed its children.’"

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Smarsh’s narration sounds personal and candid…Her lightly accented voice rarely wavers as she carries the weight of her family’s story while moving toward her future. A memoir that is as insightful as it is necessary, this is a must-listen for those interested in America’s growing class divide.”


  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • A Pick of Most Anticipated Upcoming Books
  • Finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Nonfiction
  • Finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize
  • An iBooks bestseller
  • A 2019 Audie Award Finalist for Best Narration in Nonfiction
  • Finalist for the 2019 Indies Choice Book Award for Nonfiction

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About the Author

Sarah Smarsh has covered socioeconomic class, politics, and public policy for the Guardian, VQR,,, Texas Observer, and many others. She is currently a Joan Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. A former professor of nonfiction writing, she is a frequent speaker on economic inequality and related media narratives.