- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (September 19, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039324931X
- ISBN-13: 978-0393249316
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 197 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century 1st Edition
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“Stunning and beautifully written. . . brilliant and haunting”
- Arlie Russell Hochschild, New York Times Book Review
“People who thought the 2008 financial collapse was over a long time ago need to meet the people Jessica Bruder got to know in this scorching, beautifully written, vivid, disturbing (and occasionally wryly funny) book. Nomadland is a testament both to the generosity and creativity of the victims of our modern-medieval economy, hidden in plain sight, and to the blunt-end brutality that put them there. Is this the best the wealthiest nation on earth can do for those who’ve already done so much?”
- Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell
“In the early twentieth century, men used to ride the rails in search of work, sharing camps at night. Today, as Bruder brilliantly reports, we have a new class of nomadic workers who travel in their RVs from one short-term job to another. There’s a lot to cringe at here―from low pay and physically exhausting work to constant insecurity. But surprisingly, Nomadland also offers its residents much-needed camaraderie and adventure, which makes this book a joy to read.”
- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
“The campsite as the home of last resort, the RV used not for vacation but for survival: these are the makings of a new dystopia. Nomadland is a smart road book for the new economy, full of conviviality and dark portent.”
- Ted Conover, author of Rolling Nowhere and Immersion
“You will never forget the people whose stories Bruder tells. Proud, resourceful, screwed-over, funny and in so many ways admirable, the American nomads Bruder lived with and reports on have sometimes lost everything but their bravado . . . . [She] tells their stories with humanity and wit.”
- Louise Erdrich, author of Future Home of the Living God
““Bruder is a poised and graceful writer.””
- Parul Sehgal, New York Times
“[A] devastating, revelatory book.”
- Timothy R. Smith, Washington Post
“Some readers will come because they're enamored of road narratives, but Bruder's study should be of interest to anyone who cares about the future of work, community, and retirement.”
- Peter C. Baker, Pacific Standard
“[I]mportant, eye-opening journalism.”
- Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] powerhouse of a book. . . . In the best immersive-journalism tradition, Bruder records her misadventures driving and living in a van. . . . Visceral and haunting reporting.”
- Booklist, starred review
About the Author
Jessica Bruder is an award-winning journalist whose work focuses on subcultures and the dark corners of the economy. She has written for Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Bruder teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism.
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Ms Bruder follows "workampers" in their itinerant, gypsy-esque lives around the US doing low-wage, unstable work out of necessity. This demographic is disproportionately older (55-75) and constituted by women. For various reasons, they've been forced to the extreme economic and social margins of American society. To witness their cheerfulness amidst a grueling, dystopian vulnerability (economic, physical, and mental) evokes a profoundly unsettling sense of perturbation from me.
Our amusement parks, our produce, our favorite campsites, and *even our packages from Amazon* depend substantially on impoverished and, frankly, desperate seniors. They live in vans, old RVs, and even cars permanently camping while taking short-term, dirty, and dangerous minimum wage jobs. They do this at the expense of their physical health. They're encouraged by being told that they're not working hard enough if they're NOT taking at least 2 tylenols at the end of their shift - free OTC pain meds being a "perk" of working in an Amazon warehouse. Jeff Bezos loves these workers, and hopes to eventually employ all vankampers for at least one stint by the end of the decade. Why shouldn't he? They're a godsend. They bring the non-cynical can-do work ethic of yesteryear, they're economically desperate, and Federal tax credits offset 25-40% of their wages!
Welcome to the new America, where downwardly mobile ex-middle class grannies are working themselves into an early grave for free super-saver shipping.
Jessica Bruder, a magazine journalist, spent three years researching the growing phenomenon of people, mostly of retirement age, living in their vehicles. While many embrace the Route 66-type freedom, few would have chosen to make it their way of life. They were forced by financial circumstances to give up their homes or apartments and living in a vehicle allows them some shelter, some mobility, and an excuse to claim that they are not actually homeless, just "houseless."
Many are itinerant workers, moving to an area near an Amazon warehouse in the months before Christmas, to make minimum wage packing boxes, then on to sugar beet farms at harvest time to pick produce for minimum wage.
Bruder profiles some of the nomads, tries it out for herself for a while, finds out how and why they do it, and leaves the conclusions up to the reader. It's a fascinating story and shocking. And it scares me more than a little to think that with just a bit of bad luck, it could be me. Or you.
Don't read this if you're behind in your mortgage payments or are facing downsizing. Trust me.