Thursday, September 03, 2009

This Land Is Their Land by Barbara Ehrenreich (Book Review)

This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation is a part-Swiftian and part-muckracking collection of vignettes about various specific topics affecting many Americans -- healthcare, inflation, unemployment, corporate greed and malfeasance -- that, in aggregate, all show how the gap is widening between the rich and the poor.

Of course, like many books that take a stand about political or social issues, many readers will come to it with strong opinions and those predisposed to agree with Ehrenreich will probably like and praise the book more than those who don't.

Political leanings aside, I thought the humor and angry in the book were well placed, and the pieces were deftly calibrated in length, tone, and to effect.

Overall it was good to read Ehrenreich back in full stride. Previously, I liked Nickel and Dimed a lot but was disappointed by Bait and Switch.

One caveat: the book was published in 2008 and feels just a little dated, in the wake of the recession and housing collapse. Not to say that the economic downturn has erased the gap between the rich and the poor, but I wonder if there's been any effect, especially among those whose fortunes depended on a robust housing bubble.

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