This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation [NOOK Book]


America in the 'aughts--hilariously skewered, brilliantly dissected, and darkly diagnosed by the bestselling social critic hailed as "the soul mate"* of Jonathan Swift

Barbara Ehrenreich's first book of satirical commentary, The Worst Years of Our Lives, about the Reagan era, was received with bestselling acclaim. The one problem was the title: couldn't some prophetic fact-checker have seen that the worst years of our lives--far worse--were still to come? Here they are, the ...

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This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation

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America in the 'aughts--hilariously skewered, brilliantly dissected, and darkly diagnosed by the bestselling social critic hailed as "the soul mate"* of Jonathan Swift

Barbara Ehrenreich's first book of satirical commentary, The Worst Years of Our Lives, about the Reagan era, was received with bestselling acclaim. The one problem was the title: couldn't some prophetic fact-checker have seen that the worst years of our lives--far worse--were still to come? Here they are, the 2000s, and in This Land Is Their Land, Ehrenreich subjects them to the most biting and incisive satire of her career.

Taking the measure of what we are left with after the cruelest decade in memory, Ehrenreich finds lurid extremes all around. While members of the moneyed elite can buy congressmen, many in the working class can barely buy lunch. While a wealthy minority obsessively consumes cosmetic surgery, the poor often go without health care for their children. And while the corporate C-suites are now nests of criminality, the less fortunate are fed a diet of morality, marriage, and abstinence. Ehrenreich's antidotes are as sardonic as they are spot-on: pet insurance for your kids; Salvation Army fashions for those who can no longer afford Wal-Mart; and boundless rage against those who have given us a nation scarred by deepening inequality, corroded by distrust, and shamed by its official cruelty.

Full of wit and generosity, these reports from a divided nation show once again that Ehrenreich is, as Molly Ivins said, "good for the soul."

--*The Times (London)

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Positive thinking is so inbred in America that one risks censure merely by suggesting that we sometimes overdo it. Refusing to yield to such fears, bestselling Nickel and Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich takes a vigorous swipe at unbridled optimism in this book. Bright-Sided lays out the inherently unpopular case that our national infatuation with positive thinking is leading us dangerously astray. She traces this unhealthy obsession back to its 19th-century medicine-show origins and then takes us in hand down the Yellow Brick Road of starry-eyed optimism that helped plunge us into a severe economic downturn. With a surgeon's precision, she dissects the claims of "prosperity" evangelists, "positive psychology," and self-help pundits. Bright-Sided validates the feelings of readers who always suspected that the universe might not be perfected attuned to their personal needs.
Richard Eder
…the best of the pieces are something quite different from journalism. They are small absurdist gems. Ms. Ehrenreich will take a familiar social or cultural inequity, and then take it too far, and then take it so far that it metamorphoses into a disbelieving belief. If she often resembles Mr. Dooley drawling out a newspaper item and giving it a sardonic jab, there are times she is closer to Dean Swift with his Modest Proposal to alleviate starvation by cooking and eating babies. No, we flinch; and a moment later, yes, by God.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Ehrenreich's vicious, hilarious and striking tour de force of American culture and society today addresses a range of issues from class warfare to health care, higher education to feminism to religious institutionalization and political power. She weighs in with wit, clarity and authority that few authors can match. Loosely knitted together, this collection of essays paints a disappointing picture of the world today. Cassandra Campbell works well with Ehrenreich's prose. She's keen at picking up Ehrenreich's wit and smoothly delivers punch lines. Campbell's inflections are also particularly strong, especially when Ehrenreich is driving home a point or taking a shot at someone or something. Campbell's light and crisp tone is a perfect match for Ehrenreich's demeanor and textual tone. A Metropolitan hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 24). (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Ehrenreich (Bait and Switch; Nickel and Dimed) laments, "I flinch when I hear Woody Guthrie's line 'This land belongs to you and me.' Somehow I don't think it was meant to be sung by a chorus of hedge fund operators." In this collection of essays and commentaries on the U.S. economic and social divide-turned-chasm, she looks at a wide range of topics including extravagant corporate CEO bailouts, pharmaceutical companies' recruitment of college cheerleaders as sales reps, and xenophobic children living in gated communities. Readers of her previous books will not be surprised that Wal-Mart and the private health insurance industry are frequent targets of her acerbic wit. In Swiftian style, Ehrenreich suggests that families unable to obtain health-care coverage for their children should buy pet health insurance for them, and she blithely maintains that employers have cut wages and benefits to such levels that it is safe to assume employees will soon be asked to pay their boss for the privilege of working. In a droll postscript, she invites readers to visit a web site where they can be matched up with a new country appropriate to their tastes and values since nationality is one of the "few things that can be changed without surgery." Recommended for public libraries.
—Jill Ortner

Kirkus Reviews
A collection of fierce polemics on the sorry state of American society from social critic, essayist and journalist Ehrenreich (Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, 2007, etc.). The author sees the United States as increasingly polarized into the self-indulgent superrich and the downtrodden poor, with a shrinking middle class in between. As in Nickel and Dimed (2001), she writes vividly about the plight of those struggling to make ends meet with minimum-wage jobs, and her wrath is directed at those she sees as their oppressors: the financial industry, the private health-insurance industry, medical professionals, airlines, oil companies and big-box stores-especially Wal-Mart, though Target is a target too. Ehrenreich harbors a special scorn for the lifestyle of mega-wealthy hedge-fund managers, but others who wear the black hat are President Bush, CEOs and college administrators. She lays herself open to charges of oversimplification on economic issues, but her journalistic instincts generally serve her well. Her witty, quite brief chapters, some only two or three pages long, are organized into themed sections with such charged titles as "Meanness on the Rise" and "Hell Day at Work." While some of the pieces in this collection were originally written for the New York Times, The Progressive and other publications, most previously appeared in slightly different form as blogs on the author's website. Blogs, however, are time-sensitive and intended to be stand-alones. Read in succession as chapters of a book, they seem scattershot, and some pieces are dated-for example, Ehrenreich's comments about President Bush's health savings account idea and her spiteful piece on thehigh-earning devotees of low-fat diets. Provocative, angry and funny, often at the same time-just don't try to read it all in one sitting.
From the Publisher
"For those who truly do care about what America has to offer "the huddled masses...yearning to breathe free" in a post-9/11 world, This Land Is Their Land is essential [listening]. —San Francisco Chronicle
The Barnes & Noble Review
In her 1990 essay collection, The Worst Years of Our Lives, social critic Barbara Ehrenreich took aim at all those deliciously deserving '80s punch lines -- yuppies, lecherous televangelists, Dan Quayle -- while also presenting an impassioned critique of the decade's rising greed and injustice. Little did she know then that things had yet to bottom out.

Ehrenreich has another collection of satirical essays, and while the title is This Land Is Their Land, it could well have been The New Worst Years of Our Lives. Covering the first decade of the 21st century, the roughly 60 short pieces, which originally appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, andThe Progressive, are vintage Ehrenreich: sharp, scathing, rousing, and very funny -- although in many cases the humor is of the laugh-to-keep-from-crying variety.

Her broader argument is laid out in an introduction that recalls the brief "spasm of unity" that followed 9/11 but then identifies the real enemy threatening the United States:

Whatever resonated with us about the idea of a "homeland" and "one nation, indivisible" was being quietly undercut by a force more powerful than terrorism, more divisive than treason. In a process that had begun in the 1980s and suddenly accelerated in the early 2000s, the ground was shifting under our feet, recarving the American landscape. The peaks of great wealth grew higher, rising up beyond the clouds, while the valleys of poverty sank lower into perpetual shadow. The once broad plateau of the middle class eroded away into a narrow ledge, with the white-knuckled occupants holding on for dear life.

If that overview sounds a little too passive-voiced for you, worry not: Ehrenreich proceeds to name names. In sections with titles like "Chasms of Inequality," "Meanness on the Rise," "Strangling the Middle Class," and "Hell Day at Work," the author skewers the Bush administration (natch), corporate CEOs, the health insurance industry, and the superrich, among others, with vigorous fury.

"Circuit City CEO Philip J. Schoonover is assured of getting a warm welcome in hell," begins one essay, written after the electronics chain laid off 3,400 longtime employees in order to replace them with less experienced workers coming in at a lower wage. The same piece goes after New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt for opining that such corporate moves might be necessary to prevent recession. Of Jason Furman, a liberal economist quoted in Leonhardt's column who sees mass layoffs as part of the "flexibility of the American labor force," she writes, "It's fellows like Furman who put the 'ick' in the word Democratic." Here, as in many of the essays, Ehrenreich insistently gives voice to the moral component of dispassionate news stories about abstractions like "the market."

She likes to dig beneath tossed-around slogans, too. Take "support our troops." In "The Cheapskate Warfare State" Ehrenreich describes the difficult financial realities faced by many military families -- front-line battle troops earn a paltry $17,000 a year -- and the way that recent economic policy affects them. "When the Bush administration, in its frenzied rush to transfer more wealth to the already wealthy, hurts the working poor, you can count the troops among them," she writes, deftly measuring the administration's rhetoric against its policy.

The flip side of her withering scorn is Ehrenreich's compassion for society's underdogs, honed, no doubt, while doing undercover reporting on the working poor for her 2001 bestseller, Nickel and Dimed. This collection is particularly strong on illegal immigrants and the uninsured. "There may be reasonable arguments for limiting immigration, but it wasn't a Mexican who took away your pension or sold you on a dodgy mortgage," she observes in an effort to redirect American rage toward more appropriate targets.

She also points out the increasingly disturbing extremes in American society, pairing ballooning pay for CEOs (she cites departing Home Depot chief Robert Nardelli, who was given $210 million just to go away) with the bizarre cases of forced servitude recently prosecuted in the U.S., including a wealthy Long Island couple charged with keeping two Indonesian women as slaves for five years. "If the new 'top' involves pay in the tens or hundreds of millions, a private jet, and a few acres of Nantucket, the new bottom is slavery," she notes. Elsewhere, she juxtaposes the rise in sophisticated health care treatments for pets (including dialysis, MRIs, and chemotherapy) with the rise in the number of uninsured American children. Here she cites the well-publicized case of a 12-year-old uninsured boy who died from an infection brought on by an abscessed tooth. "Could a vet have handled this problem? Yes, absolutely," she writes drily, suggesting the poor seek less costly pet insurance for their children.

The format here doesn't showcase the narrative journalism skills that Ehrenreich deployed to such effect in Nickel and Dimed. These are tightly crafted pieces, and they pack more punch when read in short bursts than in long stretches. But any one of them is likely to include incisive analysis and produce rueful laughter. An essay mocking abstinence education mentions that it has been subsidized by the federal government "since President Clinton signed the welfare reform bill of 1996, which provided abstinence training for impoverished women (though not, alas, for him)."

Despite her humor, one gets the sense that Ehrenreich's patience is flagging. "How many 'wake-up' calls, do we need, people?" she asks. "How many broken levees, drowned cities, depleted food pantries, people dead for lack of ordinary health care?" And elsewhere: "Why are American students sucking their thumbs while the Bush administration proposes a $12.7 billion cut in student loans? Where is the outrage over the massive layoffs at Ford, Hewlett-Packard, and dozens of other major companies?"

For most readers, this book will provoke some form of outrage. If you're part of the choir Ehrenreich is preaching to, there will be plenty here to rile you up, whether it's her stinging take on decreased social spending, increased outsourcing, or profit-driven health care. But if you sit on the other side of the aisle from this self-described Democratic Socialist, you might agree with New York Times columnist David Brooks, who, Ehrenreich reveals in one essay, "has chided [her] personally for taking 'an overly negative view of reality.' " The latter group may shudder at the author's ultimate prescription for our nation's ills: "We'll need a new deal, a new distribution of power and wealth, if we want to restore the beautiful idea that was 'America.' " --Barbara Spindel

Barbara Spindel has covered books for Time Out New York,, Details, and Spin. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429936712
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 600,089
  • File size: 259 KB

Meet the Author

Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of fourteen books, including Dancing in the Streets and The New York Times bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of sixteen previous books, including Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, Dancing In The Streets and Blood Rites. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.

"A simply brilliant, hilarious satirist."--The Baltimore Sun

"It would be hard to find a wittier, more insightful guide to the last three decades than Ehrenreich. Arguing with her is part of the pleasure of reading her."--Laura Shapiro, Newsweek
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Read an Excerpt


For a year or so at the beginning of the millennium, Americans were swept up in a spasm of unity. We hadn’t had an enemy scary enough to pull us together since the USSR deconstructed in 1991, and now here was one capable of bringing down the World Trade Center with box cutters, a group that had declared they wanted every one of us dead, from the janitors in our buildings to the CEOs. Transfixed by the jihadists, we wrapped ourselves in flags—flag sweaters, T-shirts, decals, lapel pins, even underwear and bathing suits. "United We Stand," proclaimed the bumper stickers, and "These Colors Don’t Run."

To be sure, this unity was as thin as a starlet after a sojourn at a spa. How were we to express it, for example, other than through our sartorial decisions? We pondered the ubiquitous instruction to "report all and activities" and that even more enigmatic command from the New York mass transit system: "See something, say something." The president advised us to carry on shopping, which we did to the best of our abilities, remaining in a state of dazed puzzlement while the TSA stripped off our shoes and our belts and the government ripped away habeas corpus and all the elementary ingredients of privacy.

But whatever resonated with us about the idea of a "homeland" and "one nation, indivisible" was being quietly undercut by a force more powerful than terrorism, more divisive than treason. In a process that had begun in the 1980s and suddenly accelerated in the early 2000s, the ground was shifting under our feet, recarving the American landscape. The peaks of great wealth grew higher, rising up beyond the clouds, while the valleys of poverty sank lower into perpetual shadow. The once broad plateau of the middle class eroded away into a narrow ledge, with the white-knuckled occupants holding on for dear life.

It wasn’t just a "shift," of course, governed by impersonal geological forces. The rude hand of human intervention could be felt in 2001, when the government gave the airlines a $20 billion post-9/11 bail-out, with nothing for the ninety thousand freshly laid-off airline employees. In another deft upward redistribution of wealth, the administration cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while cutting back on services and programs, such as financial aid, for everyone else. We had never had a gang in Washington as noisily committed to "Christian values," and yet they had managed to stand core biblical teachings on their head.

The results were glaringly visible by 2004, when the Democratic vice presidential candidate announced there were now "two Americas." This was almost certainly an undercount. We had divided into two markets—upscale and downscale, Sears and Saks—two decades earlier, and now these were further subdividing. The middle class, battered by wave after wave of outsourcings and layoffs, scrambled to meet the ever-rising costs of health care, fuel, and college education. The traditional working class, already savaged by deindustrialization, took the low-paying service jobs that were left, trading their hard hats for mops and trays. They crowded grown children and grandchildren into their homes, which they refinanced at usurious rates. They faced speedups at work and cutbacks in pay. When their monthly health insurance premiums exceeded the mortgage or rent, they abandoned the insurance and fell back on Advil.

As for the rich, mere millionaires and the old-money sorts who favor weather-beaten summer homes in Nantucket barely qualified anymore. The upper class split into the merely affluent, who shop at Williams-Sonoma, and the überrich, who had others do their shopping for them, as well as their child raising, bill paying, servant supervising, and party throwing. At the pinnacles of the wealth scale, extravagance reigned on a scale not seen since the late Roman Empire. Freshly fattened CEOs, hedge fund operators, and financiers hired interior decorators for their private jets, slugged back $10,000 martinis at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, and, in one case, staged a $2 million birthday party in Sardinia featuring an ice statue of David urinating vodka.

There was a connection, as most people suspected, between the massive buildup of wealth among the few and the anxiety and desperation of the many. The money that fueled the explosion of gluttony at the top had to come from somewhere or, more specifically, from someone. Since no domestic oil deposits had been discovered, no new seams of uranium or gold, and since the war in Iraq enriched only the military contractors and suppliers, it had to have come from other Americans. In fact, the greatest capitalist innovations of this past decade have been in the realm of squeezing money out of those who have little to spare: taking away workers’ pensions and benefits to swell profits, offering easy credit on dubious terms, raising insurance premiums and refusing to insure those who might ever make a claim, downsizing workforces to boost share prices, even falsifying time records to avoid paying overtime.

Prosperity, in America, had not always been a zero-sum game. Early twentieth-century capitalists—who were certainly no saints—envisioned a prosperous people generating profits for the upper class by buying houses and cars and washing machines. But somewhere along the line, the ethos changed from we’re all in this together to get what you can while the getting is good. Let the environment decay, the infrastructure crumble, the public hospitals close, the schools get by on bake sales, the workers drop from exhaustion—who cares? Raise the premiums, reduce the wages, add new mystery fees to each bill, and let the devil take the hindmost. Only when the poor suckers at the bottom stopped buying and defaulted on their mortgages did anyone notice them.

And where were the rest of us during this orgy of accumulation at the top? What were we thinking as the "invisible hand" of the market reached into our pockets for our wallets? The truth is that most of us were too focused on the tasks at hand to pay much attention to what was going on with the neighbors. We were paying the bills, holding on to the job, occasionally making contact with the children. And when we did take a moment to tune into the public discourse, we heard very little that addressed our frustration and pain.

The war with Iraq, for starters, which had to be one of the greatest non sequiturs in military history. Attacked by a gang composed largely of Islamic militants from Saudi Arabia, the United States countered by invading an unrelated country, and one of the most secular in the Middle East at that. Briefly fascinated by the toppling of statues and flattening of towns, we rallied to "support our troops," although no one could figure out what we were supporting them to do. If the war had been launched as a distraction from the corporate scandals of 2002, as one theory goes, it soon became something we needed distraction from. Five years later, and after the hideous revelations of Abu Ghraib, we’ve spent $505 billion, lost four thousand American lives, and achieved the status of a pariah among nations.

Issues more appropriate to a middle school biology or sex ed class also loomed large. Stem cells, for example: whole political careers were based on the defense of these wee entities and their slightly larger cousins the embryos. Insentient forms of life, such as a woman in a vegetative state, excited loud indignation, while the intact and living received barely a nod. In 2005, top Republicans rushed to the bedside of Terri Schiavo, bypassing the thousands of other ailing Floridians hit by Medicaid cuts. Gay marriage was another unlikely issue seemingly designed to distract us from the ongoing economic looting. How one person’s marriage could threaten another’s is a mystery to me, but whole elections were tipped in favor of the party of wealth, for no other purpose than to spare the public from the spectacle of same-sex embraces at the altar. As for the unmarried of any sexual orientation, abstinence was strongly recommended, along with prayer and cold showers.

Illegal immigrants are our latest distraction, vilified as if they had come to run drugs and collect welfare rather than mow lawns, clean offices, pack meat, and process poultry. There is no welfare anymore, of course, and that may be what makes the immigrants such an appealing target. Twenty years ago, right-wing demagogues had welfare recipients to kick around as a stand-in for the hated poor; today, immigrant workers have been pressed into playing the scapegoat role. The strategy is the same: to peel off some segment of the poorer classes, label them as enemies, and try to whip up rage that might have been directed at the economic over class. There may be reasonable arguments for limiting immigration, but it wasn’t a Mexican who took away your pension or sold you on a dodgy mortgage.

Maybe, too, our critical faculties were dimmed by the habit, endemic in the early 2000s, of magical thinking. The biggest self-help best seller of the last year tells you how you can have anything you want, simply by willing it, and the fiction side of the bookstore is ruled by a young magician in training. Girls are forsaking feminism for a princess fantasy that culminates in weddings lavish enough to bankrupt a couple before they can even take out a car loan. Karl Rove derided the press for its membership in the "reality-based community," and the fastest-growing brand of religion is of the magical "name it and claim it" variety, in which the deity exists only to meet one’s immediate, self-identified needs. It would be shortsighted to whine about rising debts and falling incomes when, with a little spiritual effort, the miraculous could happen to you.

How many "wake-up calls" do we need, people—how many broken levees, drowned cities, depleted food pantries, people dead for lack of ordinary health care? We approach the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century in a bleak landscape cluttered with boarded-up homes and littered with broken dreams. The presidential candidates talk about "change," but don’t bother to articulate what kind of change. Why don’t we dare say it? The looting of America has gone on too long, and the average American is too maxed out, overworked, and overspent to have anything left to take. We’ll need a new deal, a new distribution of power and wealth, if we want to restore the beautiful idea that was "America."

We could let the nation continue to fall apart, of course— dividing ever more clearly into the gated communities on the one hand and trailer parks and tenements on the other— until we eventually become one of those areas of the world prefixed by the mournful word former.

But I like to think we could find in our hearts some true ground for unity, some awareness of a common condition and collective aspiration. Maybe we could find it in an effort to restore America’s lost glory—the beauty of our land before all the fences and sprawl, the respect we once enjoyed from people around the world. Or maybe we need to find it in the common threats we face, not only from the human enemies that our foreign policy has been breeding so prolifically but from the global challenge of climate change and shrinking supplies of water and oil. And maybe, someday, we would even regain the confidence to extend that sense of unity and connectedness to all of our fellow human beings, wherever they may reside on the planet.

Excepted from This Land Is Their Land by Barbara Enrenreich

Copyright© 2008 by Barbara Enrenreich

Published in 2008 by Henry Holt and Company, LLC

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chasms of Inequality

This Land Is Their Land 11

Miami Vice: The Class Analysis 14

Home Depot's CEO-Size Tip 17

Going to Extremes: CEOs vs. Slaves 20

Banish the Bloated Overclass 23

The Heating Bill from Hell 26

Got Grease? 29

Class Struggle 101 34

Minimum Wage Rises, Sky Does Not Fall 38

Could You Afford to Be Poor? 41

Desperately Seeking Stimulus 45

Smashing Capitalism 48

Meanness on the Rise

Pension or Penitentiary? 55

Where the Finger's Pointing 57

The Cheapskate Warfare State 60

Are Illegal Immigrants the Problem? 64

The Shame Game 67

The New Cosby Kids 70

What America Owes Its "Illegals" 73

Strangling the Middle Class

Freshpersons, Welcome to Debt! 79

Party On 82

Fastest-Growing Jobs of '06: Are You Handy with Bedpans and Brooms? 85

Your Local News-Dateline Delhi 88

That Sinking Feeling 91

Recession - Who Cares? 94

What's So Great about Gated Communities? 98

Hell Day at Work

Circuit City Slaughter 105

JetBlue's Corporate Meltdown 108

Blood in the Chutney 111

Workplace Bullies 114

Big (Box) Brother 119

Invasion of the Cheerleaders 123

Fake Your Way to the Top! 126

Challenging the Workplace Dictatorship 129

Gap Kids: New Frontiers in Child Abuse 132

Wal-Mart Licks Its Wounds 135

French Workers Refuse to Be "Kleenex" 139

Declining Health

We Have Seen the Enemy - and Surrendered 145

Gouging the Poor 148

The High Cost of Doing without Universal Health Care 152

Health Care vs. the Profit Principle 155

Children Deserve Veterinary Care Too 158

Our Broken Mental Health System 161

What Causes Cancer: Probably Not You 164

A Society That Throws the Sick Away167

Getting Sex Straight

Fear of Restrooms 173

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake 176

Opportunities in Abstinence Training 179

Owning Up to Abortion 183

How Banning Gay Marriage Will Destroy the Family 186

Do Women Need a Viagra? 189

A Uterus Is Not a Substitute for a Conscience 192

Who's Wrecking the Family? 197

Bonfire of the Princesses 200

False Gods

The Secret of Mass Delusion 205

Who Moved My Ability to Reason? 208

All Together Now 213

The Faith Factor 216

Follies of Faith 220

Is It Safe to Go Back to Church? 225

God Owes Us an Apology 228

Postscript: Flee America 232

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 28, 2008

    Long on rants; short on thoughts

    I read this book hoping it would be educational, or at least thought-provoking. Unfortunately, it reads like the Democrats' answer to Rush Limbaugh. Lots of anger and self-righteousness but nothing in the way of analysis. There was no cohesion at all and the two- to three-page essay format resulted in the author's simply complaining about a given issue, then moving on to another. I'm not even exactly sure what Ehrenreich's mission with this book was; she certainly doesn't state her case in such a way as to win converts with her logic. I would NOT recommend paying the list price for this one; if you really want to read it, check it out from the library.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    An ANGRY View of America by an ANGRY Journalist

    Why is she so damn angry? She lives a comfortable life in a comfortable home, making a comfortable income writing comfortable homilies about the woes of modern American life. Ehrenreich's angry, joyless version of life will knock the wind out of your sails. Let's put things into context. Ehrenreich---who is staring 70 in the face--writes well, but complains badly. I would prefer a book with a more balanced view of our country, our problems, and our people. Ehrenreich is short on solutions, and tall on anger. I am not impressed.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2008

    'I take umbrage with . . . !!!!!'

    Wow. I kept hoping the book would yield a glimmer of optimism, but Ehrenreich's scary, nightmare vision of modern American society is shrill and unrelenting. She looks at the world 'make that the U.S.' through black-colored glasses. Don't read this book unless you want be unspeakably depressed. It's a negative read, to put it mildly. I grew bored with the author's finger-pointing, screechy, preachy, 'And another thing!' style of reasoning. I also had a hard time figuring out when these essays were written. Am I missing something? Where are the citations, with year, source publication, etc.? Midway through each essay I found myself guessing when it was written. Why did Ehrenreich do this? Confusing.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 18, 2011

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    Posted November 27, 2010

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    Posted July 2, 2009

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    Posted February 22, 2009

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