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Hardest Times: The Trauma of Long Term Unemployment Paperback – November 13, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (November 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558494154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558494152
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 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: #3,545,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."—

"As usual, Cottle writes with an artist's skill, a social scientist's psychological and social consciousness. He is a wonderful storyteller; 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, Harvard University



"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, Purdue University



"An insightful and sensitive account of the social and psychological consequences of unemployment. Hardest Times reaffirms Cottle's position as one of the more astute observers of and commentators on the poignant experiences of ordinary individuals."—Oliver Holmes, Wesleyan University



"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.. . . 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, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Book Description

Reveals the economic and psychological hardships experienced by men and their families when they become unemployed for long periods of time.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful 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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By Richard Stapleton on January 29, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was not what I thougtht
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