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Economic Opportunity: Barbara Ehrenreich

Selected Books

Barbara Ehrenreich

  1. Barbara Ehrenreich is an American author and political activist who describes herself as "a myth buster by trade", and has been called "a veteran muckraker" by The New Yorker. During the 1980s and early 1990s she was a prominent figure in the Democratic Socialists of America. She is a widely read and award-winning columnist and essayist, and author of 21 books. Ehrenreich is perhaps best known for her 2001 bookNickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. A memoir of Ehrenreich's three-month experiment surviving on minimum wage as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart clerk, it was described byNewsweek magazine as "jarring" and "full of riveting grit", and by The New Yorker as an "exposé" putting "human flesh on the bones of such abstractions as 'living wage' and 'affordable housing'". Born August 26, 1941, Butte, MT. Education: Rockefeller University (1968), Reed College (1963)

What They are Saying about Nickel and Dimed

We have Barbara Ehrenreich to thank for bringing us the news of America's working poor so clearly and directly, and conveying with it a deep moral outrage and a finely textured sense of lives as lived. As Michael Harrington was, she is now our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism.  New York Times 

As Ehrenreich points out with her potent combination of humor and outrage, the laws of supply and demand have been reversed. Rental prices skyrocket, but wages never rise. Rather, jobs are so cheap as measured by the pay that workers are encouraged to take as many as they can. Behind those trademark Wal-Mart vests, it turns out, are the borderline homeless. With her characteristic wry wit and her unabashedly liberal bent, Ehrenreich brings the invisible poor out of hiding and, in the process, the world they inhabit--where civil liberties are often ignored and hard work fails to live up to its reputation as the ticket out of poverty. --Lesley Reed 

 Delivering a fast read that's both sobering and sassy, she gives readers pause about those caught in the economy's undertow, even in good times.  Publisher's Weekly

"I was absolutely knocked out by Barbara Ehrenreich's remarkable odyssey. She has accomplished what no contemporary writer has even attempted-to be that `nobody' who barely subsists on her essential labors. Not only is it must reading but it's mesmeric. Bravo!" - Studs Terkel, author of Working 

"A brilliant on-the-job report from the dark side of the boom. No one since H. L. Mencken has assailed the smug rhetoric of prosperity with such scalpel-like precision and ferocious wit." - Mike Davis, author of Ecology of Fear 

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