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Hardest Times: The Trauma of Long Term Unemployment

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0275969844
ISBN-10: 0275969843
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Editorial Reviews

Review

..."this is an important contribution to the area of unemployment and work. The author is to be commended for bringing to our attention the stories and experiences of men who have too often been forgotten. Whereas unemployment is frequently discussed as a rate within the context of the overall economy. Hardest times makes abundantly clear the human costs that lie behind that rate. Perhaps the height of irony is that most of the men in this study would not even be counted in such a faceless statistic since they had long ago given up actively searching for work and, by government defintion, would no longer be considered unemployed."-Contemporary Sociology

"This emotionally wrenching work is a much-needed reminder of the need to attend to those who are marginalized, even in the "best" of times. All collections."-Choice

?This emotionally wrenching work is a much-needed reminder of the need to attend to those who are marginalized, even in the "best" of times. All collections.?-Choice

?...this is an important contribution to the area of unemployment and work. The author is to be commended for bringing to our attention the stories and experiences of men who have too often been forgotten. Whereas unemployment is frequently discussed as a rate within the context of the overall economy. Hardest times makes abundantly clear the human costs that lie behind that rate. Perhaps the height of irony is that most of the men in this study would not even be counted in such a faceless statistic since they had long ago given up actively searching for work and, by government defintion, would no longer be considered unemployed.?-Contemporary Sociology

.,."this is an important contribution to the area of unemployment and work. The author is to be commended for bringing to our attention the stories and experiences of men who have too often been forgotten. Whereas unemployment is frequently discussed as a rate within the context of the overall economy. Hardest times makes abundantly clear the human costs that lie behind that rate. Perhaps the height of irony is that most of the men in this study would not even be counted in such a faceless statistic since they had long ago given up actively searching for work and, by government defintion, would no longer be considered unemployed."-Contemporary Sociology

"Cottle's writing is unsparing, tough and insightful.... To my way of thinking this is his best and most mature work. Hardest Times is a major contribution to our understanding of men, of work, and of the shattering trauma that men experience when work is denied."-Robert Melson Professor Political Science Department Purdue University

"Tom's work brings us face to face with the lived reality of poverty and unemployment. In the midst of our current, and surely short-lived, celebration of unprecedented prosperity, we need to hear the voices Tom Cottle has recorded, if only to be better prepared for the travails that await us."-Jan Dizard Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of American Culture Amherst College

"The manuscript provides an insightful and sensitive account of the social and psychological consequences of unemployment, particularly during the longest economic expansion in the history of the United States, reaffirms Cottle's position as one of the more astute observers of and commentators on the poignant experiences of ordinary individuals."-Oliver Holmes Professor of Intellectual History Wesleyan University

"As usual, Cottle writes with an artist's skill, a social scientist's psychological and social consciousness. He is a wonderful story-teller; he catches life's subtleties, nuances, daily, hum-drum drama. He also is a skilled and thoughtful interviewer, observer, psychological analyst. He is doing important, revealing, original, and scholarly work, and doing it in a most unusual and brilliant manner."-Robert Coles James Agee Professor of Social Ethics Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Humanities Harvard University

"The [book] has Cottle's usual ability to make real to a reader the subjective experiences of his respondents. It displays, too, his ability to use psychological theory to deepen the discussion so that the reader can understand why his respondents respond as they do. Cottle has always written evocatively and well, but here he has an issue about which he feels passionately, and that makes him write especially vivid. He gives voice to men and whom he has come to care about."-Robert Weiss Emeritus Professor Department of Sociology University of Massachusetts Boston

"Tom Cottle's newest book Hardest Times...brings something new and significant to our understanding of the problems of long term unemployment. Cottle's trenchant and penetrating portraits of unemployed men alone are worth examining as only researchers like Robert Coles, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, Oscar Lewis and Jonathan Kozol present material in such compelling, poignant and vivid fashion.... Additionally, these portraits coupled with Cottle's enlightening and provocative theoretical analysis will make Hardest Times a notable book that will take its place among the most significant contributions to the literature on the sociology and psychology of work, male identity, bereavement and trauma."-Gerald M. Platt Professor of Sociology University of Massachusetts Amherst

From the Publisher

A sobering look at what happens to men--and their families--who are unemployed for six months or longer. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (December 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275969843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275969844
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,828,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Major on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I purchased this title as part of an effort to understand what happened to my family when my father was fired and was subsequently unable to replace his job. The book was almost unbearably sad to read, but it rang absolutely true to the way I remember this crisis and its effect on my father and our family, especially the overwhelming sense of shame we all lived with. Mr. Cottle lists his research and statistics in the first chapter, and then he simply tells stories of trauma experienced by the various men he interviewed. The stories haunt you long after you've put the book back on the shelf. They make you wonder how to really help these men and their families. And you're also left with a more compassionate view of the long-term unemployed. They aren't lazy, useless folks to be disposed of, but human beings with souls who have experienced what amounts to a life tragedy. They need our compassion, not our judgment.
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I must say this is not the best choice one could make on how to cope with the impact of long term unemployment particularly if you are a woman. Frankly, it's rather depressing ending with the words "And although the plant and the man continue to stand, everyone recognizes they are moribund. At last there is nothing to do but raze the plant and bury the man."

The book was published in 2001 when unemployment was nowhere near as high as it is today and, therefore, statistics cited are obviously long outdated. The author does not explain until Chapter 9 The Shame of Unemployment that "The purpose of the book has been to make the reader aware of the stories of long-term unemployed men living at a time when the U.S. economy is seen to be flourishing."

In the Preface of this book the author carefully explains "I have focused attention in this volume on stories of men out of work. This focus should not be interpreted, however, as a disinterest in the stories of long-term unemployed women and the profound meanings unemployment has for them as well. If work is a central feature in the development of a man's identity and sense of personal satisfaction, a theme explored later on, then it is for woman as well, but this exploration is reserved for another volume." Oh, really? It has been ten (10) years since this book came out and I for one know of no such subsequent book addressing the heavy impact unemployment has on women. In a way a distinction seems irrelevant. The author speaks many times about men being head of households, main breadwinners, the financial mainstay of the family. These days however many households are headed by single mother breadwinners who shoulder just as heavy (if not heavier) financial burdens as the men the author writes about.
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It was not what I thougtht
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