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The Walk: A Novel (Walk Series) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 6, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,280 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Walk Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taking a page from The Odyssey, bestseller Evans (The Christmas Box) launches a new series of inspirational novels with a serious misstep. In the novel's outset, once-successful Seattle advertising executive Alan Christoffersen loses everything important to him: his beloved wife dies after being thrown by a horse, his business partner steals all their clients for himself, and lenders re-possess Alan's home and cars. Anchorless, Alan decides to take a walk to "the furthest point reachable by foot," Key West, Fla., in search of new meaning. In short chapters, Evans covers the first 12 days of Alan's journey, taking him from Bellevue to Spokane, Washington; the journey is largely uneventful, filled in by details of Alan's meals at small-town diners and fast food joints. Lacking a sense of dynamics or immediacy, the first leg of Evans' epic is a contrived attempt at honest seeking.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Evans’ latest inspirational novel is the first in a planned series about a man who sets out to walk across the country in the wake of a personal tragedy. At 28, Alan Christoffersen is the head of his own successful ad company, and madly in love with his wife, McKale. His life seems truly charmed, until McKale has an accident while horseback riding. She is left paralyzed, and to stay by her side, Alan leaves his business in the hands of his partner, Kyle, which proves to be a terrible misstep when Kyle cruelly betrays him. Then McKale dies. Bereft, Alan throws off the trappings of his old life and, with little more than a backpack and a tent, sets out to walk from his home in Bellevue, Washington, all the way to Key West, Florida. The idea of a man leaving on a soul-searching cross-country trek is an intriguing one, and the pages turn quickly. Future installments will prove whether Evans’ concept holds up, but this initial offering is definitely a journey worth taking. --Kristine Huntley
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Product Details

  • Series: Walk Series
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439187312
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439187319
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
AFTERSHOCK may well be the most important book written on the current economic crisis. I say this because it offers a critical insight that I have seen in very few other places: The fundamental cause of our problems is the relentless drive toward income concentration. The problem with concentrating income into the hands of a few people is that you take money from millions of people who would spend nearly all of it, and give it to a tiny number of people who can't and won't spend it -- but will instead save it, gamble with it, or invest it offshore. The end result is simply too few viable consumers to drive the economy.

Reich points out that income for American middle class families has been essentially stagnant or declining for over three decades. The middle class has coped with this in three basic ways: (1) Women have entered the workforce, (2) People worked longer hours, and, of course, (3) We all relied on debt (credit cards and home equity loans) rather than income to support our consumption. Those coping methods are now exhausted, and we are left in a position where average Americans simply do not have sufficient discretionary income to support a sustainable recovery. The great American consumer class -- which was the driving force behind our prosperity in the 1950s and 1960s -- has been largely decimated.

To his credit, Reich correctly identifies globalization and, especially, automation technology as primary forces behind declining middle class wages. At the same time, rather than enacting countervailing policies, the United States (beginning with Reagan) has gone in the exact opposite direction and adopted a conservative agenda that has actually accelerated the trend toward income concentration.
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Format: Hardcover
Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer: "The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance.
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13 Comments 206 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Who hasn't thought of walking away from their life at one point or another? In Richard Paul Evan's new book, Alan, the main character does just that after he looses everything, including his beloved wife. This is the first of 5 installments as he journeys on foot across the country while coming to terms with all he has lost. It is a very capitvating story and moves quickly. Although the book has it's own satisfying ending, you definitely remain very attached to Alan and are left looking forward to hearing about the rest of his journey!
5 Comments 118 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite what um ... some reviewers say, Dr. Reich is not delusional. He comes loaded with statistics to back up every assertion he makes. I have not read the book as yet, but just saw the movie over the weekend. Fantastic and highly recommended!

*I have since read the book too. Excellent read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this concise and well reasoned book, Robert Reich shows that the origin of the "Great Recession" lay in the widening gap between the very rich and the middle class. In brief, middle class incomes, adjusted for inflation, have stagnated or even declined, while the very rich have accumulated a larger and larger share of the nation's wealth. The nation's wealth has indeed been redistributed: upward.

This created a structural problem in the economy, since middle class workers no longer can afford to buy the products and services they produce, and the very rich cannot possibly spend the vast amounts of money they accumulate. Businesses remain "profitable" by outsourcing jobs or replacing workers with technology; this compounds the middle class dilemma because many of the jobs they did are gone forever.

With a shrinking consumer base for the products they offer, businesses cannot justify expansion, and do not create jobs. The rich, looking for places to put the huge amounts of money they control, are attracted to speculation; new bubbles are inevitable. At the same time, great wealth translates into political power, making any useful change extremely difficult.

Since the problems are structural, they must be solved with structural changes, and Reich ends with a list of suggestions for the kinds of changes that could help direct more money and success to middle class Americans. Many readers will think his suggestions are politically unfeasible, and while he makes a valiant stab at optimism, it is clear that Reich is very much aware of the obstacles in the way.

Before things get better, it seems, they will have to get worse. Much worse.
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