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The Insecure American: How We Got Here and What We Should Do About It Paperback – November 24, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520259718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520259713
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Highly recommended.”
(A. C. Moblety Choice 2011-06-17)

From the Inside Flap

"The Insecure American turned out to be a revelation—by turns alarming, depressing and laugh-out-loud amusing."—Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“During the last half century, America morphed almost seamlessly from 'the Age of Anxiety' into 'the Age of Insecurity'. The threat of nuclear annihilation hovered ominously as a Damoclean sword, and while there are residues—that anxiety has been substantially replaced by a gnawing sense of more local insecurity—from employment and healthcare uncertainty, to expanding gated communities and food-supply woes. This is as rich a collection as one can find that provides compelling accounts for how and why this has happened.”—Troy Duster, Director of the Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge at NYU

"If ever the United States was a country of shared prosperity, it no longer answers to that description. The consequences for American families, particularly those at the bottom of the social structure, but increasingly in the middle class as well, have been devastating to their pocketbooks, their confidence, and the hope that their children will be able to make it in the world they are inheriting. This distinguished group of anthropologists trains an ethnographic lens on the impact of growing insecurity on the social fabric of the nation. Concerned citizens, fellow social scientists, students, and policy makers should pay attention to their message."—Katherine Newman, Princeton University, co-author of The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Monroe on July 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am shocked there aren't more readers reviewing this on Amazon! That being said, here's mine, and I'll keep it short.

The author has a very good writing style, providing salient facts in a conversational tone that keeps you going. As to the book's thesis, well that's up to the reader, but the facts are legion.

If you'd like your brain tickled while becoming more informed and empowered, read this immediately. What the book does NOT offer (hence the lack of a fifth star) are very many concrete solutions to the problems outlined, so it doesn't really deliver on the "What We Should Do About It."

Yes, there are some whistful musings at the end of each chapter that have a few loose ideas, but not a lot of substance there. The ratio of problems to solutions is probably about 15 to 1, in terms of energy, research and writing in this book.

That being said, one still ought to read this, since it's massively empowering to learn why things are the way they are and how they got that way, and from there, solutions become apparent. I thought I knew everything about how bad WalMart is in terms of global and local economies, but I found new information in this book I'd never considered or heard of.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett on January 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Is it down to a Brit to flag this up? Shame on you. But what to do? More gnashing of teeth on

(((Still only one other review? At a time of triumphalism over Libya, read #2. And yes, we Brits are in as deep in this bellicose and 'carceral' (#3) culture as you are. Well, nearly!)))
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