Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Credit Card Nation The Consequences Of America's Addiction To Credit Hardcover – December 26, 2000


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.42 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1St Edition edition (December 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465043666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465043668
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No interest for one year! No annual fee! No minimum payments for six months! And, if you want to believe Robert Manning, there's no way out of the debt that we find ourselves in, as individuals and as a country. Credit Card Nation combines debt of every kind--consumer, corporate, and governmental--and creates a vast landscape of profit-spewing lenders and struggling debtors present at every level of economics. Appalling statistics set readers off on a depressing journey: the years between 1980 and 1994 saw annual consumer charges skyrocket from $170 billion to $581 billion, with the average household carrying over $4,000 in revolving debt. Accompanied by the erasure of nearly $100 billion in corporate debt and tremendous tax cuts for ever-merging conglomerates, the end of the 20th century seems to be just the beginning of an overwhelming cycle. While Manning's book is extensively researched, it is also extremely readable. Individual stories of junk bondsmen, corporate raiders, and middle-class consumers are threaded throughout the pages of charts and statistics, with a few surprises. While most media would have us believe that students who rack up charge accounts are totally irresponsible, the reality is that some of these students are helping their families with cash-advance loans to make mortgage or insurance payments. Emphasis is also placed on the tremendous advertising budgets of credit card companies: Manning comments on "how quickly the cultural norms have changed in the Credit Card Nation," we see a poster insisting "money can't buy you love, but a credit card can get you started." This is not a self-help book, and Manning has no 12-step program for debtors at any level. Credit Card Nation simply tells it as it is. --Jill Lightner

From Publishers Weekly

A sociology professor whose specialty is the effect of credit card debt on college students, Manning expands his focus here to encompass social attitudes toward all types of debt. Suggesting that debt leads not only to financial ruin but also to moral and social degradation, this dense, technical work is filled with jargon (chapter four, for example, is subtitled "Convenience Users and the Ideological Construction of the Moral Divide"). In the first-person interviews with college students, the subjects are rarely allowed to complete a sentence. Instead, Manning embeds phrases from the interviews into his own argument. Since we never learn more than a few facts about each interviewee (not even a last name or college affiliation), they serve as chorus to the monologue rather than adding weight or complexity to Manning's thesis. When relating facts, Manning puts quotation marks around the many terms he disagrees with, conveying his opinion without supporting evidence for his views. Loaded words substitute for exposition: people do not choose to borrow, they are "addicted to credit"; he does not deem them "borrowers," but "users"; no one simply owes money--instead, everyone is "burdened," "oppressed" or "overwhelmed" by debt, even when the debt seems small relative to their assets and income. (Feb. 2)Forecast: Manning's book may interest professional sociologists, but general readers will find it difficult to understand in some places, dogmatic and unsubstantiated elsewhere. However, given its timely topic, the book is likely to receive serious review attention, and will pick up some sales due to Manning's media appearances (he's been featured on ABC World News Tonight, CNN and elsewhere. But the book's academic gloss will keep sales from rising high, despite the millions of Americans suffering from debt overload.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

All in all, this is a thoroughly insightful book, which everyone should read.
JSB Morse
This book provides excellent insight into how the credit card industry operates and how they trap ever more suspecting people into a viscious cycle of debt.
Frederick S. Goethel
The author's forceful personality--and his unassailable integrity--come through very strongly here.
Mark G McCue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By C. Brown on August 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think reviewers are overlooking the central theme of Manning's book, made up of two observations by which he reaches his conclusion.

First, he is telling us that our society has changed from the time when a person was known for his/her personal character, and Puritanical thrift was the rule to guide all. In times past, most people couldn't begin to afford to create an image or build their persona from non-essential purchases. Only minimal credit was available to Joe Average and that usually from a local merchant who sold essentials. As my dad (born 1898) used to tell me: never use credit except for a house and a car. He exploded with rage when credit cards began arriving unsolicited in the mail as he saw it as an extreme danger to society.

Now, people are known for their lifestyle. They present themselves as an image built through their possessions. Revolving credit has been slipped into the toolbox of the average citizen through the careful marketing of the credit providers as an aid, an essential one, for the non-wealthy to participate in the culture-wide activity of individual identity creation and the maintenance of "success".

Conclusion from the above: to participate in American culture, literally to be somebody (sad to say), you have to put up an image based on possessions. If you have money you do it effortlessly. If you don't have money, you do it with revolving credit. In other words, for those without money, credit is the foundation for being socialized into popular culture, in addition to being a lifesaver for status when a job is lost, or becomes part-time.

It is not simply a matter of the individual being foolish to choose to get into debt, as it was back in the old days of "a penny saved is a penny earned.
Read more ›
12 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mark G McCue on January 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Those of us who have had the distinct priveledge of hearing Manning speak now have this extraordinary study to solidify our understanding of the cult of credit in the United States.
The author's forceful personality--and his unassailable integrity--come through very strongly here. His insight and compassion for all of us and our obsession for making it in America go to the larger question of how we as driven consumers equate credit with time: the crisis of life spans increasingly regarded as inadequate for experiential fulfillment. No longer is it a question of status, but of opportunity: If we don't buy/experience this now, we may never be able to again. Manning joins Svevo, Carlo Levi, and Gide in demonstrating how the manipulation and "evocation" of assets reflects a psychological and societal attempt to reduce inner dissonance about our mortality.
Manning shows how our mania for packing our lives with sensations and stimulalting our senses to the hilt is now more about the ACT of buying that possession itself. As a result, the utter contempt extenders of credit have for those in the markets they pursue is no longer sublimated; giving the market "what it wants" has crossed the Styx of "savvy marketing" into an underworld of persuasive exploitation. Manning forces us to acknowledge our addictive propensity for money, whether we are "in glut" with it or want of it. Credit colors who we are with potential of peril for our lives.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Austin Grisham on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Although there is a short attack on Reagan deficit spending during the eighties, this book mainly focuses on America's increasing dependence on short term debt (i.e. credit cards). Since Mr. Manning is a sociologist he tries to pay particular attention to how societal attitudes have changed. How the puritan ideal of frugality and thrift has been pushed aside for a new philosophy that emphasizes materialism and luxury.
I thought the most interesting chapter did not have to do with credit card debt at all but the peripheral bank industry (check cashing etc..) that are financed by large banking institutions. Manning makes the case that the reason that banks have pulled out of poor areas is not because banks can't be profitable there, as the industry has long claimed, but because they can make so much more through the loan shark businesses they finance. It makes one think that the U.S. ant-trust division should be more worried about Citibank than Microsoft.
My only gripe with this book was the author's attack on student credit card debt. He seems to blame the credit card companies way too much. I was not nearly as sympathetic to Manning's stories of students who needed to buy expensive clothes or go to Europe so they "could fit in", as I was to people that were laid off and so desperate for money that they had to get into debt.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Robert Manning has provided a vital service to our nation...for many years I was caught in the credit vise, fortunately I entered a counseling program and paid off $30,000 in consumer debt, which I would have been saddled with forever.
Sadly, a great portion of our national wealth is consumed by the banking industry, earning it's greatest profits from those who are the most vulnerable.
Can one survive without credit cards? I am living proof that says "absolutely." The credit industry would have us believe that their cards are a necessity. They are not. Mr Manning goes into great detail explaining the reasons we got to the point that college students with no income receive multiple offers for credit and get into deep debt, some with tragic circumstances.
Read this book if you have ever used a credit card or anticipate educating your children about this important subject.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.