127 of 137 people found the following review helpful
A Wake-Up Call for America,
This review is from: This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation (Hardcover)
America is in big trouble, asserts Ehrenreich. Greed is in the saddle and rides roughshod over democratic principles. The rich are getting richer; the poor are getting poorer; a once-healthy middle class has become an endangered species.
Whether writing of "Chasms of Inequality," "Meanness on the Rise," "Strangling the Middle Class," "Hell Day at Work," "Declining Health," "Getting Sex Straight," or "False Gods," Ehrenreich pulls no punches, gives no quarter, takes no captives.
The most serious threats to a deep morality, argues Ehrenhreich, are not abortionists, stem cell researchers, or matrimonially minded gays, but those who wage an unnecessary war and ruthlessly oppress the poor.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Pat Robertson will hate this book. Many grossly overpaid corporate CEO's and HMO bigwigs won't care much for it either.
One need not be a devotee of Karl Marx's Das Kapital to perceive (unless one is willfully blind) the dark underside of capitalism, which thrives on the cynical creed: "Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost!"
Is Ehrenreich's book agitprop or solid sociopolitical criticism? The reader's reaction will depend on his or her political stance. I believe This Land Is Their Land is right on point: a devastating critique of capitalism run amok. It's a wake-up call concerning the looting and fleecing of America.
If Ehrenreich sounds angry, outraged, and fighting mad, it's because she is. Hers is a righteous indignation against those who are destroying everything that moral and compassionate people hold dear.
Like an ancient prophet, she issues scathing indictments against plutocrats who trample on the poor. In her book one hears the thunderous voice of Amos: "Let justice roll on like a mighty river and righteousness like an everflowing stream."
An excerpt from the book: "How many 'wake-up calls' do we need, people--how many broken lives, drowned cities, depleted food pantries, people dead for lack of ordinary health care? We approach the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century in a bleak landscape cluttered with boarded-up homes and littered with broken dreams. . . . Why don't we dare say it? The looting of America has gone on too long, and the average American is too maxed out, overworked, and overspent to have anything left to take. We'll need a new deal, a new distribution of power and wealth, if we want to restore the beautiful idea that was 'America.'"
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 7, 2008, 10:43:18 AM PDT
I enjoyed every book Barbara has written and I am sure this will be no excption. Her carefully researched work, distilled with her intelligence and humor, is always enjoyable even when you are grinding your teeth in frustration at the incidents she describes!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2010, 9:03:59 AM PDT
Roy E. Perry says:
Barbara, thanks for your comment. I hope you and your family are well. Let's hope that the years to come will warrant more optimism on America's future. Cheers! Roy E. Perry
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2010, 9:06:01 AM PDT
Roy E. Perry says:
Thanks, Tina ... I think! :-)
One might as well laugh as cry.
--Roy E. Perry
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2011, 5:53:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2011, 5:55:17 PM PST
Typical review by a leftish Amazon reader. Care to comment on the fact that 19 of the top 20 richest counties in America voted for Obama in 2008 ? Who are these elite oppressors ? Well, the billionaires have Obama on direct dial...
Also, the notion that capitalism is about "every man for himself" is just a straw man argument. If you read Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, it is not about that at all. In fact, having personally been in communist and socialist countries, I can tell you that people raised in those systems are very, very good at deploying their elbows and knocking you out of their way, in that long, long bread line.
Posted on Mar 12, 2011, 10:01:21 PM PST
Thomas L. Laws says:
Yes, it's all big business fault isn't it? I live in a town of 20,000 that has a school budget of 24 million and a city budget of 18 million. My oh so generous local government union employees fair wage costs my family of 4 $8400! Add in the states 6% sales tax and 4.5% income tax, the 15% self employment tax, the 32% federal income tax, the gas, cable,phone,parking,wine taxes and we are crushed!!! You have the gull to whine about capitalism but probably have no idea just how efficient that system is. Most gasoline stations GROSS is 8 cents on a gallon of gas that costs over 3 dollars. I'll wager you never felt guilty about shopping for the cheapest gas though.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011, 7:15:12 AM PDT
Geoffrey Halston says:
Her experiences are gleaned from empirical observations. How efficient is a system where college graduates work two to three jobs, are saddled with a lifetime of student loan debt, can be fired or downsized from their jobs, where ultr-super mega-rich big oil CEOs make upwards of 34 billion per quarter profits! Shoud we solve these problems by having the workers work for free? CEOs make 400 -- 500 times more than the workers do. I pay taxes also -- I just don't incessantly whine about it.
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