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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

by

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Cover

 

Awards

2001 New York Times Notable Book

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked about books of the year, Nickel and Dimed has already become a classic of undercover reportage.

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity — a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

Review:

"Ehrenreich's scorn withers, her humor stings, and her radical light shines on." The Boston Globe

Review:

"Ehrenreich is passionate, public, hotly lucid, and politically engaged." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"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." Dorothy Gallagher, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Barbara Ehrenreich is smart, provocative, funny, and sane in a world that needs more of all four." Diane Sawyer

Review:

"Nickel and Dimed is an important book that should be read by anyone who has been lulled into middle-class complacency." Vivien Labaton, Ms. Magazine

Review:

"[Ehrenreich's] account is at once enraging and sobering....Mandatory reading for any workforce entrant." School Library Journal

Review:

"Jarring, full of riveting grit....This book is already unforgettable." Susannah Meadows, Newsweek

Synopsis:

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages. Social critic Barbara Ehrenreich joined them, moving into a trailer and working as a waitress, hotel maid, and Wal-Mart sales clerk. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and duality.

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked about books of the year, Nickel and Dimed has already become a classic of undercover reportage.

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity — a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked about books of the year, Nickel and Dimed has already become a classic of undercover reportage.

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity — a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller The Worst Years of Our Lives, as well as Fear of Falling and Blood Rites. She lives near Key West, Florida.

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

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 jobany jobcan 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 intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generositya land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategems for survival. Read it for the clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom.

"A valuable and illuminating book . . . 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 . . . She is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism."Dorothy Gallagher, The New York Times Book Review

"A valuable and illuminating book . . . 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 . . . She is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism."Dorothy Gallagher, The New York Times Book Review

"Nickel and Dimed is a superb and frightening look into the lives of hard-working Americans . . . policymakers should be forced to read the last ten pages of Ehrenreich's book in which she concludes that affordable rent, food and health care should be among the chief measurements of a healthy economy, not simply high productivity and employment."Tamara Straus, San Francisco Chronicle

"This book is thoroughly enjoyable, written with an affable, up-your-nose brio throughout. Ehrenreich is a superb and relaxed stylist, and she has a tremendous sense of rueful humor, especially when it comes to the evils of middle-management, absentee ownership and all the little self-consecrating bourgeois touches gracing the homes she sterilizes, inch-by-square-inch, as a maid in Maine."Stephen Metcalf, Los Angeles Times

"With grace and wit, Ehrenreich discovers the irony of being 'nickel and dimed' during unprecedented prosperity . . . Living wages, she elegantly shows, might erase the shame that comes from our dependence 'on the underpaid labor of others."Eileen Boris, The Boston Globe

"A captivating account . . . Just promise that you will read this explosive little book cover to cover and pass it on to all your friends and relatives."Diana Henriques, The New York Times

"There is much to be learned from Nickel and Dimed. It opens a window into the daily lives of the invisible workforce that fuels the service economy, and endows the men and women who populate it with the honor that is often lacking on the job . . . In the grand tradition of the muckraking journalist, [Ehrenreich] goes undercover for nearly a year . . . What emerges is an insider's view of the worst jobs (other than agricultural labor) the 'new economy' has to offer."Katherine Newman, The Washington Post Book World

"Ehrenreich is a wonderful writer. Her descriptions of people and places stay with you. If nothing else, this book illuminates the invisible army that scrubs floors, waits tables and straightens the racks at discount stores. That alone makes Ehrenreich's odyssey worthwhile."Sandy Block, USA Today

"Nickel and Dimed is an 'old-fashioned,' in-your-face exposé . . . this important volume will force anyone who reads it to acknowledge the often desperate plight of Ehrenreich's subjects."Anne Colamosca, Business Week

"Jarring, full of riveting grit . . . This book is already unforgettable."Susannah Meadows, Newsweek

"I commend Barbara Ehrenreich for conducting such an important experiment. Millions of Americans suffer daily trying to make ends meet. Ehrenreich's book forces people to acknowledge the average worker's struggle and promises to be extremely influential."Lynn Woolsey, U.S. Congress, Representing California's Sixth District

"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

"With this book Barbara Ehrenreich takes her place among such giants of investigative journalism as George Orwell and Jack London. Ehrenreich's courage, empathy, and the immediacy with which she describes her experience bring us face to face with the fate of millions of American workers today."Frances Fox Piven, author of Regulating the Poor

"I was absolutely knocked out by Barbara Ehrenreich's remarkable odyssey as a waitress, hotel maid, cleaning woman, nursing home aide and sales clerk. She has accomplished what no contemporary writer has even attemptedto be that 'nobody' who barely subsists on her essential labors. It is a stiff punch in the nose to those righteous apostles of 'welfare reform.' Not only is it must reading but it's mesmeric. You can't put the damn thing down. Bravo!"Studs Terkel, author of Working

"One of the great American social critics, Barbara Ehrenreich has written an unforgettable memoir of what it was like to work in some of America's least attractive

About the Author

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller The Worst Years of Our Lives, as well as Fear of Falling and Blood Rites. She lives near Key West, Florida.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

bonniegolliher, May 30, 2010 (view all comments by bonniegolliher)
This book forever changed the way I tip. Instead of tipping as a percentage of the bill, I routinely tip $5 no matter what the invoice says. It has also convinced me to view employers who pay minimum wages for long periods of employment without increases in salary or medical/dental benefits as predatory behavior at best and stealing from employees at worst. Furthermore, we've all seen the Wal-Mart employee who is missing three front teeth when they greet you and thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart. This is 'smart' business? Not very PR savvy, I'd say.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Judith Lerner, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by Judith Lerner)
I'm not sure if it's the best book I've read in the past ten years, but it's the most memorable, and one I keep going back to. I believe it represents the way of life for too many Americans.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Tracy, June 6, 2009 (view all comments by Tracy)
Entertaining and very informative! Unfortunately I am one of the working poor at this time, but I'm fortunate in having it better than most of the people that the author meets in her experiment. This book has definitely motivated me to strive for better career opportunities.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 9 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805063899
Subtitle:
On (Not) Getting By in America
Author:
Ehrenreich, Barbara
Editor:
Shara, Kay
Editor:
Kay, Shara
Author:
Piven, Frances Fox
Author:
Hochschild, Arlie
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Location:
New York, N.Y.
Subject:
General
Subject:
American
Subject:
United states
Subject:
U.S. Government
Subject:
Sociology - Social Theory
Subject:
Poverty
Subject:
Minimum wage
Subject:
Unskilled labor.
Subject:
Labor & Industrial Relations - General
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
SOC045000
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Labor
Subject:
Political Economy
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Owl Books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Spare Change?
Series Volume:
02-2079S
Publication Date:
May 2002
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » American Studies » 80s to Present
History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Poverty
History and Social Science » Politics » Labor
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Poverty

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Owl Books (NY) - English 9780805063899 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Ehrenreich's scorn withers, her humor stings, and her radical light shines on."
"Review" by , "Ehrenreich is passionate, public, hotly lucid, and politically engaged."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Barbara Ehrenreich is smart, provocative, funny, and sane in a world that needs more of all four."
"Review" by , "Nickel and Dimed is an important book that should be read by anyone who has been lulled into middle-class complacency."
"Review" by , "[Ehrenreich's] account is at once enraging and sobering....Mandatory reading for any workforce entrant."
"Review" by , "Jarring, full of riveting grit....This book is already unforgettable."
"Synopsis" by , Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages. Social critic Barbara Ehrenreich joined them, moving into a trailer and working as a waitress, hotel maid, and Wal-Mart sales clerk. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and duality.
"Synopsis" by ,
The New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked about books of the year, Nickel and Dimed has already become a classic of undercover reportage.

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity — a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

"Synopsis" by ,
The New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked about books of the year, Nickel and Dimed has already become a classic of undercover reportage.

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity — a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller The Worst Years of Our Lives, as well as Fear of Falling and Blood Rites. She lives near Key West, Florida.

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

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 jobany jobcan 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 intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generositya land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategems for survival. Read it for the clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom.

"A valuable and illuminating book . . . 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 . . . She is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism."Dorothy Gallagher, The New York Times Book Review

"A valuable and illuminating book . . . 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 . . . She is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism."Dorothy Gallagher, The New York Times Book Review

"Nickel and Dimed is a superb and frightening look into the lives of hard-working Americans . . . policymakers should be forced to read the last ten pages of Ehrenreich's book in which she concludes that affordable rent, food and health care should be among the chief measurements of a healthy economy, not simply high productivity and employment."Tamara Straus, San Francisco Chronicle

"This book is thoroughly enjoyable, written with an affable, up-your-nose brio throughout. Ehrenreich is a superb and relaxed stylist, and she has a tremendous sense of rueful humor, especially when it comes to the evils of middle-management, absentee ownership and all the little self-consecrating bourgeois touches gracing the homes she sterilizes, inch-by-square-inch, as a maid in Maine."Stephen Metcalf, Los Angeles Times

"With grace and wit, Ehrenreich discovers the irony of being 'nickel and dimed' during unprecedented prosperity . . . Living wages, she elegantly shows, might erase the shame that comes from our dependence 'on the underpaid labor of others."Eileen Boris, The Boston Globe

"A captivating account . . . Just promise that you will read this explosive little book cover to cover and pass it on to all your friends and relatives."Diana Henriques, The New York Times

"There is much to be learned from Nickel and Dimed. It opens a window into the daily lives of the invisible workforce that fuels the service economy, and endows the men and women who populate it with the honor that is often lacking on the job . . . In the grand tradition of the muckraking journalist, [Ehrenreich] goes undercover for nearly a year . . . What emerges is an insider's view of the worst jobs (other than agricultural labor) the 'new economy' has to offer."Katherine Newman, The Washington Post Book World

"Ehrenreich is a wonderful writer. Her descriptions of people and places stay with you. If nothing else, this book illuminates the invisible army that scrubs floors, waits tables and straightens the racks at discount stores. That alone makes Ehrenreich's odyssey worthwhile."Sandy Block, USA Today

"Nickel and Dimed is an 'old-fashioned,' in-your-face exposé . . . this important volume will force anyone who reads it to acknowledge the often desperate plight of Ehrenreich's subjects."Anne Colamosca, Business Week

"Jarring, full of riveting grit . . . This book is already unforgettable."Susannah Meadows, Newsweek

"I commend Barbara Ehrenreich for conducting such an important experiment. Millions of Americans suffer daily trying to make ends meet. Ehrenreich's book forces people to acknowledge the average worker's struggle and promises to be extremely influential."Lynn Woolsey, U.S. Congress, Representing California's Sixth District

"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

"With this book Barbara Ehrenreich takes her place among such giants of investigative journalism as George Orwell and Jack London. Ehrenreich's courage, empathy, and the immediacy with which she describes her experience bring us face to face with the fate of millions of American workers today."Frances Fox Piven, author of Regulating the Poor

"I was absolutely knocked out by Barbara Ehrenreich's remarkable odyssey as a waitress, hotel maid, cleaning woman, nursing home aide and sales clerk. She has accomplished what no contemporary writer has even attemptedto be that 'nobody' who barely subsists on her essential labors. It is a stiff punch in the nose to those righteous apostles of 'welfare reform.' Not only is it must reading but it's mesmeric. You can't put the damn thing down. Bravo!"Studs Terkel, author of Working

"One of the great American social critics, Barbara Ehrenreich has written an unforgettable memoir of what it was like to work in some of America's least attractive

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