Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity. Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
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The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible résumé of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a middle-class job—undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and—again and again—rejected. Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right—gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés—yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees—plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers—and little security even for those who have jobs. Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing exposé of economic cruelty where we least expect it.
THE STORY: Can a middle-aged, middle-class woman survive, when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour? Maybe. But one $7-an-hour job won't pay the rent: she'll have to do back-to-back shifts, as a chambermaid and a
The author of the critically acclaimed Blood Rites examines the human impulse toward collective joy, historically expressed in communal celebrations, reflecting the human nature as social beings and involving ecstatic revelries of feasting, costuming, and dancing, from the ancient Greeks worship of Dionysus to the more recent carnivalization of sports. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
This provocative book reveals how the real sexual revolution was initiated by women -- not men -- and how it transformed both our behavior and our understanding of what sex means in our lives.
A study of the human attraction to violence and war ranges from the human sacrifices of the ancient world to the Holocaust, tracing the impulse to slaughter to the blood rites enacted by the earliest human hunters. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.
This women's history classic brilliantly exposed the constraints imposed on women in the name of science and exposes the myths used to control them. Since the the nineteenth century, professionals have been invoking scientific expertise to prescribe what women should do for their own good. Among the experts’ diagnoses and remedies: menstruation was an illness requiring seclusion; pregnancy, a disabling condition; and higher education, a threat to long-term health of the uterus. From clitoridectomies to tame women’s behavior in the nineteenth century to the censure of a generation of mothers as castrators in the 1950s, doctors have not hesitated to intervene in women’s sexual, emotional, and maternal lives. Even domesticity, the most popular prescription for a safe environment for woman, spawned legions of “scientific” experts. Barbara Ehrenreich and Dierdre English has never lost faith in science itself, butinsist that we hold those who interpret it to higher standards. Women are entering the medical and scientific professions in greater numbers but as recent research shows, experts continue to use pseudoscience to tell women how to live. For Her Own Good provides today’s readers with an indispensable dose of informed skepticism.
From the bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, an explanation of recent sexual culture and the loosening of marriage bonds in recent history. "Finally someone is offering a new, utterly plausible explanation...of loosening marriage bonds. According to Barbara Ehrenreich...it is men who started walking off, in search of freedom from their stifling role of breadwinner/success-machine. The shock—and exhilaration—of this book comes from the recognition that here is a woman who has dared to look beyond the everyday assumptions about love and commitment to examine which bonds between men and women can endure and which may last forever.”--Vogue
We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds and even our deaths. Yet emerging science challenges our assumptions of mastery: at the microscopic level, the cells in our bodies facilitate tumours and attack other cells, with life-threatening consequences. In this revelatory book, Barbara Ehrenreich argues that our bodies are a battleground over which we have little control, and lays bare the cultural charades that shield us from this knowledge. Challenging everything we think we know about life and death, she also offers hope - that we find our place in a natural world teeming with animation and endless possibility.