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High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families by [Gosselin, Peter]
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High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 386 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. L.A. Times economics correspondent Gosselin outlines the current economic situation of American families in light of specific policies initiated since the stalled economy of the 1970s. Today, Gosselin finds, fewer households are likely to fall into financial ruin, but those who do experience layoffs, expensive medical problems, foreclosure or other financial strain have a much harder time bouncing back, as old social safety nets have been systematically unraveled. Gosselin argues that in today's economy, families and individuals are assuming an unprecedented amount of financial risk; another aspect of the new economy is that upper-middle class families are at just as much risk as the less well-off. Each chapter takes an in-depth look at a different facet of the economy, healthcare, retirement, education and rebuilding New Orleans among them. Gosselin also discusses "unjobs," short-term and freelance gigs secured by an increasingly desperate labor force, and the new indispensability of two-income households. Though scholarly, Gosselin's writing is effortlessly readable, bolstered by anecdotes from real people facing financial adversity. Packed with insight and understanding, this no-nonsense look at the present and future of the American Dream should be of interest to any wage-earner or salary-man.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Gosselin, the "Los Angeles Times" economic correspondent in Washington, has got something special going in the pages of "High Wire," He has answered - analytically and lyrically - a question that clogs debate on economic matters in the nation's capital: Why do Americans feel so anxious, even when the U.S. economy, on the whole, is performing quite ably?--John Aloysius Farrell, Robert Emmet Blog "Gosselin's spirit of humanity penetrates beyond dry statistics to reveal some of the deepest and most important economic issues facing the country today."--Robert Shiller, Yale finance theorist and author of "Irrational Exuberance." "Incomes and living standards have become more volatile, and many families today are left bearing risks that they simply cannot handle. Peter Gosselin sets out to be the voice of the ordinary family, and he does an eloquent and convincing job of it in this important book."--Bob Solow, Nobel Prize-winning MIT economist "In this alarming and vividly reported book, Gosselin puts to rest the notion that anyone can make it on their own with only a winning plan. This book must be a central part of the discussion on how to cure America's economic ills, before the "high wire" becomes a trip wire for us all."--Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Nickel and Dimed" and "Bait and Switch" "[Peter Gosselin] has done the most convincing job I've seen in capturing the failures of America to deal with a changing, complex and far less generous economy than it has known in the past...The main theme of Gosselin, a veteran reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is the rise of deep-seated financial, health and material risk. He gathers the many pieces of the new economic America together quite beautifully, even elegantly, and brings them alive with interesting and not the usually predictable individual examples. I learned many things in this book, and I've been covering this territory for a long time."--Jeff Madrick, economic analyst on "Meticulously researched and written with verve, "High Wire" is a rare masterpiece of chilling logic about mounting economic risks in our families, our homes, and our jobs. All Americans should read this book."--Peter Bernstein, economic consultant and author of "Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk" "Nothing I've read better explains these fundamental contemporary American anxieties than 'High Wire.'"--"St. Louis Post Dispatch" "Voters will face a choice between a Democrat who talks about alleviating the risks bearing down on lower- and middle-income Americans and a Republican who, in effect, promises to continue the Bush administration's economic policies. Voters confused about how this choice affects their daily lives should read Gosselin's book from cover to cover."--"New York Times Book Review" "Gosselin weaves economic research, intimate portraits of average Americans, and the products of some old-fashioned digging into a compelling narrative. Like Jacob Hacker's 2006 "The Great Risk Shift," Gosselin's book is an investigation into the gradual tearing of America's social safety net, from inadequate health insurance to pension plans with holes."--"Business Week" "Peter Gosselin writes movingly of the personal wreckage endured by many Americans in today's volatile economy."--"Los Angeles Times" "A rigorously researched and well-written analysis of the economic challenges facing many Americans."--"Boston Globe" "[Gosselin's] writing is made more meaningful by use of real personalities to illustrate problems, putting a human face to the new reality of financial upheaval. His book should be imperativereading for anyone concerned about financial woes and their causes.--"Oklahoman " .,."excellent and thoughtful..."--"New York Review of Books" "If you have time to read only two books during this presidential year--about the condition of the country and the challenges together we all face--then please do yourself and all those you care about a favor by reading Peter Gosselin's 'High Wire' twice!"--Mark Shields, PBS Newshour commentator and syndicated columnist "Paradoxically, 'the lives of individual Americans have grown simultaneously more prosperous and more precarious, ' writes Peter Gosselin in his new book, 'High Wire.' Gosselin, a reporter at the "Los Angeles Times," has provided the most thorough account of this phenomenon to date." --"Newsweek"

Product details

  • File Size: 1535 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (June 9, 2009)
  • Publication Date: June 9, 2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JJXLG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,200,250 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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