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Are you looking for a thought-provoking audiobook that delves into the complexities of political and social issues in America? Look no further than ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ by Arlie Russell Hochschild.

In this audiobook review, we’ll explore the author’s unique perspective on current societal challenges and how they are interwoven with the historical and cultural context in America. We’ll examine the character development, narration, and production value of the audiobook, as well as its relevance and impact in today’s context.

Key Takeaways:

  • Arlie Russell Hochschild offers a unique perspective on societal challenges in America
  • The audiobook explores the historical and cultural context in which these challenges exist
  • Character development and production value enhance the overall listening experience
  • ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is highly relevant to current social, political, and economic issues
  • The audiobook provides valuable insights into the motivations and beliefs of individuals with differing viewpoints

About the Author

Experience the insightful and unique perspective brought by the author of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land,’ Arlie Russell Hochschild. Born in 1940, Hochschild is an American sociologist and academic with extensive knowledge in the fields of work, gender, social inequality, and politics.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and later received a doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Hochschild joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972 and has since authored several influential books and articles on sociology and political science, making her one of the nation’s most respected academics.

Notable Works

Book Title Year Published
The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling 1983
The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home 1989
Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy 2003
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right 2016

Her works have received extensive critical acclaim and have been awarded numerous accolades, including the C. Wright Mills Award and the National Book Award Finalist. Hochschild is a skilled researcher and analyst, using rigorous methods to uncover underlying social and political dynamics that shape our everyday lives.

Through her unique perspective and expertise, Arlie Russell Hochschild has made a significant contribution to American sociology and political science. Her insights have been widely recognized and appreciated, making her an essential voice in contemporary discourse.

Book Summary

‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ by Arlie Russell Hochschild is an audiobook that focuses on the political, social, and economic challenges faced by residents of Louisiana, a deeply conservative state. The central theme of the book is the so-called ‘Great Paradox,’ which refers to the fact that many working-class conservatives support policies that seemingly don’t benefit them.

The audiobook offers a nuanced perspective on these issues and attempts to explain why such paradoxes exist. Through extensive interviews with residents of Louisiana, the author ascertains that the concept of ‘deep story’ drives people’s beliefs and actions more than political allegiances.

The author also delves into the historical and cultural reasons behind Louisiana residents’ beliefs and values, exploring how these factors shape their perception of contemporary American challenges. ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ provides insightful analysis and commentary that is both thought-provoking and timely.

The audiobook has a powerful message, which emphasizes the need to move beyond stereotypes and political allegiances, and to understand the deeper psychological and emotional factors that drive human behavior. It highlights the importance of trying to comprehend the perspectives of those with whom we may disagree. Overall, the ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ audiobook is an engaging and enlightening work that provides valuable insights into contemporary America.

Narration and Production

The quality of the narration and production can make or break an audiobook. Fortunately, the audiobook edition of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ rises above the competition in this regard.

The narration is expertly performed by Suzanne Toren, who deftly captures the nuances of the author’s prose. Her voice is clear, well-paced, and engaging, making it easy to follow along with the audiobook’s arguments and viewpoints.

Another element that stands out about the audiobook production is the careful attention paid to the sound design. The sound effects, background music, and other audio elements are subtle and tasteful, adding depth and dimension to the listening experience without distracting from the content itself.

All in all, the narration and production of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ make for an engaging and immersive experience that is sure to resonate with listeners of all backgrounds and perspectives.

Character Development

The audiobook ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ by Arlie Russell Hochschild takes us on a journey through the lives of various individuals grappling with complex societal issues. Throughout the audiobook, Hochschild skillfully develops these characters, taking us on their personal journeys and providing insights into their motivations and beliefs.

One character that stands out in the audiobook is Lee Sherman, a chemical plant worker and a devoted Republican. Although his politics don’t align with Hochschild’s own, she takes us into his world and offers us a glimpse into his life experiences, making him relatable to readers of all political persuasions. Through Lee’s story, we see how his identity is shaped by his cultural background, his work, and his family, providing a unique perspective on the issues explored in the audiobook.

Another well-developed character is Janice Areno, whose story highlights the impact of environmental degradation on the residents of Louisiana. Hochschild takes us on Janice’s journey of discovering the harmful effects of pollution on her community, a journey that ultimately leads to her becoming a vocal environmental activist.

Character Development

Overall, the character development in ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is one of the audiobook’s strongest points. Through their personal stories, we gain a deeper understanding of the complex issues facing American society today.

Historical and Cultural Context

In ‘Strangers in Their Own Land,’ Arlie Russell Hochschild dives deep into the historical and cultural context that shapes the narrative. The audiobook is set in Louisiana and focuses on the perspectives of conservative residents and their views on race, ecology, and politics.

The historical context is crucial for understanding the current state of affairs in Louisiana and the US overall. Louisiana has a complex and vibrant history, rooted in its unique cultural mix of Native American, African, European, and Caribbean influences. The state’s main industries – agriculture, petrochemicals, and tourism – are deeply connected to Louisiana’s history and have shaped its culture and society in profound ways.

At the same time, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ also sheds light on the contemporary social dynamics, which have contributed to the widespread political polarization and social divisions in the US. By exploring the cultural and historical factors that shape the political beliefs and attitudes of individuals, Hochschild’s audiobook reveals the deep-seated sources of political conflict and social fragmentation in modern America.

‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ urges us to re-examine our own assumptions and biases, and to view the world through the eyes of those who hold different perspectives. By doing so, Hochschild’s work offers important insights into how we can bridge our differences and work towards a more inclusive and compassionate society.

The Significance of the Historical and Cultural Context:

Historical Context Cultural Context
Importance The historical context is essential for understanding the origins and evolution of social, political, and economic forces that shape our world The cultural context plays a vital role in determining the values, beliefs, and attitudes of individuals and communities, making it critical for understanding social dynamics and political behavior.
Relevance The historical context is relevant in that it highlights how the past continues to shape the present, and provides a roadmap for creating a more just and equitable future. The cultural context is relevant because it enables us to recognize and celebrate the diversity of human experience, promoting empathy, understanding, and respect across cultural boundaries.
Challenges One of the challenges of exploring the historical context is that the past is often obscured by myths, distortions, and biases, requiring a critical and nuanced perspective. One of the challenges of examining the cultural context is that it can lead to oversimplification and stereotyping, requiring an appreciation of the complexities and variations within cultural groups.

Impact and Relevance Today

As we navigate our way through the ever-changing landscape of politics and society, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ offers vital insights that help us better understand current social, political, and economic issues. Arlie Russell Hochschild’s audiobook review takes a deep dive into the cultural and ideological divides that shape our world today and explores the impact of these factors on people’s lives.

The detailed analysis of the book provides readers with a better understanding of the underlying reasons behind some of the country’s most pressing challenges. The audiobook review gives an excellent account of the political and social forces that influence the lives of many Americans today. The relevance of this work cannot be overstated in a world that is increasingly connected and yet increasingly divided.

“In a historical moment where we are struggling to understand our divisions and our political climate, Strangers in Their Own Land is a powerful and illuminating read.”

With Hochschild’s careful examination of the cultural and political factors that shape our world, we can better understand how we arrived at this moment and what steps we can take to move forward. ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is a must-read audiobook that delivers critical insights into the challenges we face today and how we can overcome them.

Pros and Cons

After careful consideration and analysis, we’ve identified some of the pros and cons of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ as an audiobook.


  • Insightful: The audiobook offers a thought-provoking look at the social dynamics and political landscape of contemporary America through the eyes of those residing in Louisiana.
  • Well-written: Arlie Russell Hochschild’s sophisticated prose and articulate language make for an engaging and enthralling listening experience.
  • Expertly Narrated: The voice actor does an exceptional job in conveying the emotions of each character and bringing them to life in a way that captivates the listener.
  • Great production: The production quality is excellent, with clear sound quality and a perfect pace that helps listeners stay engaged.


  • Occasionally biased: While Arlie Russell Hochschild tries to provide an objective perspective, the audiobook is potentially biased towards a liberal perspective, undermining the author’s goal of bridging the political divide.
  • Might be challenging to follow: The book presents complex sociological themes and theories, which might require deeper knowledge and background to be fully comprehended.
  • May trigger discomfort: The book discusses sensitive issues that might be challenging to listen to, making it unsuitable for those who are emotionally vulnerable.

If you are looking for an audiobook that offers valuable insights into contemporary political and social issues and doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable and challenging topics, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ could be an excellent choice. However, you should be prepared for a potentially biased perspective and complex theoretical concepts.

At the end of the day, whether you enjoy ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ depends on your personal preferences, tolerance, and interests.


Overall, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ by Arlie Russell Hochschild is a highly recommended audiobook for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and political divide present in America today. With its thought-provoking insights, nuanced character development, and relevant historical and cultural context, this audiobook is a must-listen.

The narration and production elevate the listening experience and showcase the talent and expertise of the voice actor. Though some may find the pacing slow at times, the additional elements such as music and sound effects add to the overall quality.

While there are some minor flaws in the book, such as an overly simplistic portrayal of certain individuals, these should not detract from the audiobook’s value as a whole. ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ has the power to provide a fresh perspective on divisive issues and can help bridge the gap between different viewpoints.

If you’re looking for an audiobook that challenges your assumptions and expands your understanding of the world, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is the perfect choice.


Is ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ available as an audiobook?

Yes, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is available as an audiobook.

Who is the author of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’?

The author of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is Arlie Russell Hochschild.

What is ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ about?

‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ explores the political divide in America, focusing on the lives and perspectives of conservative citizens in Louisiana.

What is the historical and cultural context of the audiobook?

The audiobook delves into the social and cultural dynamics of Louisiana, examining the region’s history, culture, and political landscape to provide context for the narratives presented.

How does the author develop the characters in ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’?

Arlie Russell Hochschild portrays different individuals and their personal journeys, providing insights into their motivations, beliefs, and experiences.

Is there a physical book version of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’?

Yes, ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ is available in physical book format.

How does the narration and production of the audiobook enhance the listening experience?

The narration and production of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ contribute to the immersive and engaging listening experience, with skilled voice talent and careful attention to pacing and other elements.

Is ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ relevant in today’s context?

Yes, the insights presented in ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ continue to be relevant, allowing listeners to better understand the current social, political, and economic issues faced in America.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’?

‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ offers a thought-provoking analysis of the political divide, but some readers may find it lacks diverse perspectives or fails to deeply explore certain topics.

Should I invest my time in listening to ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’?

Whether to invest your time in the audiobook ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ ultimately depends on your interest in understanding the political landscape and perspectives within America. Consider your personal preferences and goals before making a decision.

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